Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The U.S. Justice Department has lost almost 30% of its tax prosecutors in the past month, slowing a U.S. crackdown on offshore banks that enabled tax evasion, according to four people familiar with the matter.
Twenty-five of the 95 prosecutors in the tax division left headquarters in Washington for six-month “details” with U.S. attorneys around the country, and another three took permanent assignments, according to the four people, who declined to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.
Many of the lawyers handled cases involving foreign banks or financial advisers suspected of helping U.S. clients cheat on taxes, the people said. The transfers came amid criminal probes of at least 11 Swiss financial institutions, including Credit Suisse (CSGN) Group AG, with the tax division leading or assisting each prosecution. “To move one-third of these people from that effort will significantly compromise such enforcement at the very time it is needed to deal with the huge amounts of offshore cases coming to the tax division,” said Nathan Hochman, a former assistant attorney general who oversaw the tax division under President George W. Bush.