Wall Street Journal Quotes Scott Michel on IRS's Probe of Singapore Firm

The Wall Street Journal

Scott D. Michel spoke with The Wall Street Journal concerning the IRS's criminal probe into a Singapore asset-management firm's acceptance of transfers from undeclared Swiss accounts closed by U.S. taxpayers.  The investigation marks the first known instance of the extension into Asia of the ongoing U.S. crackdown on undeclared offshore accounts.  Since then, U.S. officials have pursued banks and individual "enablers," such as lawyers or asset managers, who have helped U.S. taxpayers hide money abroad in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Israel, India and the Caribbean.  Until now, there was little indication the U.S. had widened its probe to Asia.  For more on the story, please visit WSJ's website.

Excerpt taken from the article.

Scott Michel, a lawyer with Caplin & Drysdale in Washington, which has extensive experience in offshore-account issues, said the Singapore government may be more willing to cooperate with U.S. officials about unreported accounts than some other countries.

"They are on board" with American and other initiatives to open up reporting by foreign financial firms, he said.

A spokesman for the IRS declined to comment.

U.S. officials have publicly vowed to track down "leavers"— people who closed offshore accounts, especially in Switzerland, and moved the assets to avoid detection after the crackdown began in 2009. Such a transfer is often clear evidence of criminal intent to evade taxes, said Mr. Michel.



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