Here’s a list of offshore banks that have come under attack by the IRS in the last few years. This is not a list of banks to avoid, but rather a list of banks that the US government has gone after and taken money from in exchange for allowing them to continue to do business.
Back in 2015, I wrote up a list of banks to avoid. It was based on this same IRS webpage and had “only” 14 bank on the list. At the time I thought that was a very large list. See: Banks To Avoid, May 2015.
Today, the list is 99 offshore banks and growing. Basically any bank that the IRS though it could get a headline out of and some cash got slapped around.
Some of the offshore banks below paid up and have gone on about their business. For example, UBS and Credit Suisse put up token resistance to the IRS a few years back, turned over their customer list in violation of numerous Swiss laws, and paid big time fines. UBS paid $780 million to the IRS in 2009 and Credit Suisse paid $2.6 billion in 2014. For more on Credit Suisse see the US Department of Justice website.
I also wrote about Belize Bank International Limited back in 2015. In this case, the IRS went after Belize International and it brought down the entire Belize banking sector for a few months. Belize Bank was the clearinghouse for all of the other international banks on the island. So, when it went down, so did the other offshore banks.
For more information, see Belize Banks Under Attack by US Government. Belize Bank International is still having issues and may be forced out of business. They can’t afford to pay a billion dollars to keep their doors open, so the US government will probably make an example out of them instead.
As for the other banks in Belize, they’re all back in business. For example, Caye Bank replaced its corresponding bank and is doing very well.
The only real “criminal” in this list is Stanford International Bank. This offshore bank was owned by American Allen Stanford who was convicted of a $7 billion dollar fraud back in 2012. All the rest are banks that were following their countries rules and had no connection to the US other than the fact that they had clients with US passports.
For more on the Stanford scam, see Allen Stanford. He had banks in a multiple countries and I suspect the entry below refers to Stanford Bank in Panama. The IRS posting does not make this clear.
As a sidebar, Stanford Bank Panama was sold to Mohamed Waked and rebranded as Balboa Bank, Panama. Mr. Waked is a Panama citizen and a very well respected business man in his country.
In May of 2016, Mr. Waked and his Balboa Bank were charged with money laundering by US authorities. The bank was closed and its owners were sent to the US to stand trial. So, Stanford / Balboa Bank has been shut down twice by Uncle Sam.
I expect Balboa Bank to be added to the list below soon enough. For more information on Mr. Waked and the fate of Balboa Bank, see my article US Government Shuts Down Balboa Bank Panama.
To be clear, the list below no longer represents banks to avoid. It’s to long and includes just about all the big names who could afford to pay the US government. Just in the last week I’ve had dealings with swisspartners, Credit Suisse, and Julius Baer, all of which are doing just fine.
This list is now a warning to Americans setting up offshore bank accounts - your bank is probably made a deal with the IRS. Don’t make the mistake of believing your offshore account is private. File your forms and report all to the US government. There is no escape.
Also, now you know why it’s so damned hard to open an offshore bank account. Here in America anyone can walk in and get an account within 5 minutes. Offshore, they want everything but your first born and even then take weeks to review and run a background check.
Now for the list of offshore banks. Here is the naughty list of offshore banks from the IRS
- UBS AG
- Credit Suisse AG, Credit Suisse Fides, and Clariden Leu Ltd.
- Wegelin & Co.
- Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG
- Zurcher Kantonalbank
- swisspartners Investment Network AG, swisspartners Wealth Management AG,
- swisspartners Insurance Company SPC Ltd., and swisspartners Versicherung AG
- CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited, its predecessors, subsidiaries, and affiliates
- Stanford International Bank, Ltd., Stanford Group Company, and Stanford Trust Company, Ltd.
- The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited in India (HSBC India)
- The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited (also known as Butterfield Bank and Bank of Butterfield), its predecessors, subsidiaries, and affiliates
- Sovereign Management & Legal, Ltd., its predecessors, subsidiaries, and affiliates (effective 12/19/14)
- Bank Leumi le-Israel B.M., The Bank Leumi le-Israel Trust Company Ltd, Bank Leumi (Luxembourg) S.A., Leumi Private Bank S.A., and Bank Leumi USA (effective 12/22/14)
- BSI SA (effective 3/30/15)
- Vadian Bank AG (effective 5/8/15)
- Finter Bank Zurich AG (effective 5/15/15)
- Societe Generale Private Banking (Lugano-Svizzera) SA (effective 5/28/15)
- MediBank AG (effective 5/28/15)
- LBBW (Schweiz) AG (effective 5/28/15)
- Scobag Privatbank AG (effective 5/28/15)
- Rothschild Bank AG (effective 6/3/15)
- Banca Credinvest SA (effective 6/3/15)
- Societe Generale Private Banking (Suisse) SA (effective 6/9/15)
- Berner Kantonalbank AG (effective 6/9/15)
- Bank Linth LLB AG (effective 6/19/15)
- Bank Sparhafen Zurich AG (effective 6/19/15)
- Ersparniskasse Schaffhausen AG (effective 6/26/15)
- Privatbank Von Graffenried AG (effective 7/2/15)
- Banque Pasche SA (effective 7/9/15)
- ARVEST Privatbank AG (effective 7/9/15)
- Mercantil Bank (Schweiz) AG (effective 7/16/15)
- Banque Cantonale Neuchateloise (effective 7/16/15)
- Nidwaldner Kantonalbank (effective 7/16/15)
- SB Saanen Bank AG (effective 7/23/15)
- Privatbank Bellerive AG (effective 7/23/15)
- PKB Privatbank AG (effective 7/30/15)
- Falcon Private Bank AG (effective 7/30/15)
- Credito Privato Commerciale in liquidazione SA (effective 7/30/15)
- Bank EKI Genossenschaft (effective 8/3/15)
- Privatbank Reichmuth & Co. (effective 8/6/15)
- Banque Cantonale du Jura SA (effective 8/6/15)
- Banca Intermobiliare di Investimenti e Gestioni (Suisse) SA (effective 8/6/15)
- Bank Zweiplus ag (effective 8/20/15)
- Banca dello Stato del Cantone Ticino (effective 8/20/15)
- Hypothekarbank Lenzburg AG (effective 8/27/15)
- Schroder & Co. Bank AG (effective 9/3/15)
- Valiant Bank AG (effective 9/10/15)
- Bank La Roche & Co AG (effective 9/15/15)
- Belize Bank International Limited, Belize Bank Limited, Belize Corporate Services Limited, their predecessors, subsidiaries, and affiliates (effective 9/16/15)
- Galler Kantonalbank AG (effective 9/17/15)
- Gutzwiller & Cie, Banquiers (effective 9/17/15)
- Migros Bank AG (effective 9/25/15)
- Graubundner Katonalbank (effective 9/25/15)
- BHF-Bank (Schweiz) AG (effective 10/1/15)
- Finacor SA (effective 10/6/15)
- Schaffhauser Kantonalbank (effective 10/8/15)
- BBVA Suiza S.A. (effective 10/16/15)
- Piguet Galland & Cie SA (effective 10/23/15)
- Luzerner Kantonalbank AG (effective 10/29/15)
- Habib Bank AG Zurich (effective 10/29/15)
- Banque Heritage SA (effective 10/29/15)
- Hyposwiss Private Bank Genève S.A. (effective 10/29/15)
- Banque Bonhôte & Cie SA (effective 11/3/15)
- Banque Internationale a Luxembourg (Suisse) SA (effective 11/12/15)
- Zuger Kantonalbank (effective 11/12/15)
- Standard Chartered Bank (Switzerland) SA, en liquidation (effective 11/13/15)
- Maerki Baumann & Co. AG (effective 11/17/15)
- BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA (effective 11/19/15)
- KBL (Switzerland) Ltd. (effective 11/19/15)
- Bank CIC (Switzerland) Ltd. (effective 11/19/15)
- Privatbank IHAG Zürich AG (effective 11/24/15)
- Deutsche Bank (Suisse) SA (effective 11/24/15)
- EFG Bank AG (effective 12/3/15)
- EFG Bank European Financial Group SA, Geneva (effective 12/3/15)
- Aargauische Kantonalbank (effective 12/8/15)
- Cornèr Banca SA (effective 12/10/15)
- Bank Coop AG (effective 12/10/15)
- Crédit Agricole (Suisse) SA (effective 12/15/15)
- Dreyfus Sons & Co Ltd, Banquiers (effective 12/15/15)
- Baumann & Cie, Banquiers (effective 12/15/15)
- Bordier & Cie Switzerland (effective 12/17/15)
- PBZ Verwaltungs AG (effective 12/17/15)
- PostFinance AG (effective 12/17/15)
- Edmond de Rothschild (Suisse) SA (effective 12/18/15)
- Edmond de Rothschild (Lugano) SA (effective 12/18/15)
- Bank J. Safra Sarasin AG (effective 12/23/15)
- Coutts & Co Ltd (effective 12/23/15)
- Gonet & Cie (effective 12/23/15)
- Banque Cantonal du Valais (effective 12/23/15)
- Banque Cantonale Vaudoise (effective 12/23/15)
- Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd (effective 12/31/15)
- DZ Privatbank (Schweiz) AG (effective 12/31/15)
- Union Bancaire Privée , USP SA (effective 1/6/16)
- PHZ Privat - und Handelsbank Zürich AG reorganized as Leodan Privatbank AG (effective 1/25/16)
- Hyposwiss Privatbank AG reorganized as HSZH Verwaltungs AG (effective 1/27/16)
- Bank Julius Baer & Co., Ltd (effective 2/4/16)
- Cayman National Securities Ltd. (effective 3/9/16)
- Cayman National Trust Co. Ltd. (effective 3/9/16)
For an updated list, see Foreign Financial Institutions or Facilitators on the IRS website.
I hope you have found this article on offshore banks under siege by the IRS helpful. If you would like assistance to form an offshore company and open a bank account, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (619) 550-2743.