US makes move in tax case

US authorities have arrested a Credit Suisse banker as a “material witness” as they investigate other banks that may have helped Americans to avoid paying taxes, a spokesman for the bank confirmed yesterday.

The banker is not allowed to leave the United States after his arrest two weeks ago when he entered the country to meet with clients, according to Swiss newspaper SonntagsZetiung.

The banker is working for Credit Suisse Private Advisors, a unit of Credit Suisse that is fully licensed with the SEC to provide banking services to US clients out of Switzerland.

The paper also cited an unnamed Credit Suisse manager as saying the banker was arrested because of activities linked to his time before joining Credit Suisse.

Credit Suisse declined to comment, however spokesman Mark Dosch told City A.M. that the firm stressed the employee was a witness, not a defendant. He added that the US interest was in activities related to a prior employer, as the staff member only joined Credit Suisse in 2009.

Switzerland’s largest bank, UBS, has faced intense pressure from US tax authorities over alleged tax evasion since 2008. The bank was prosecuted through US courts and forced to pay a $780m (£480m) fine and hand over client names.