(Adds details on court hearing, background on case)
By Nate Raymond
NEW YORK Nov 28 Two bankers with Swiss lender
Zuercher Kantonalbank (ZKB) pleaded not guilty on Monday to
charges they conspired to help American clients and others hide
more than $420 million in offshore accounts from U.S. tax
Stephan Fellmann, 52, and Christof Reist, 58, who live in
Switzerland, entered their pleas in federal court in Manhattan
after agreeing to face charges contained in an indictment that
has been pending since 2012.
Both men along with a third were charged in one of several
cases against Swiss bankers and their employers stemming from a
U.S. crackdown on offshore tax evasion by wealthy Americans
utilizing undeclared Swiss bank accounts.
Until Monday, Fellmann and Reist were outside U.S.
authorities' reach while they were living in Switzerland. Both
men voluntarily agreed to face the charges, Assistant U.S.
Attorney Noah Solowiejczyk said in court.
U.S. Magistrate Judge James Cott released both men on
$150,000 bonds and ordered them to remain in New York.
Prosecutors in court said they were in talks with the defendants
about resolving the case.
Lawyers for both men either declined comment or did not
respond to a request for comment.
Representatives for ZKB did not immediately respond to a
request for comment. Earlier this year, the bank's annual report
said it was cooperating with authorities and working toward a
The indictment said that from 2003 to 2009, more than 190
U.S. taxpayer clients of ZKB conspired to conceal accounts at
the bank from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to evade taxes.
Prosecutors said Fellmann, Reist, co-defendant Otto Huppi
and other client advisors at ZKB conspired to hide at least $423
million in assets from the IRS.
Fellmann, who worked at the bank since at least 2008,
personally managed $104 million in undeclared U.S. assets;
Reist, who worked there since at least 2003, personally managed
$5.4 million in such assets, the indictment said.
Both men helped clients open and maintain undeclared
accounts using codenames or in the names of sham entities and
ensured that mail relating to the accounts was not sent to their
American clients in the United States, the indictment said.
The case is U.S. v. Fellmann et al, U.S. District Court,
Southern District of New York, No. 12-cr-00962.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Chris Reese
and David Gregorio)