Oldest Swiss bank to close after guilty plea in tax evasion case

The oldest bank in Switzerland, Wegelin,  is set to close permanently after it pleaded guilty in a New York court to helping Americans evade their taxes.

The bank, which was established in 1741, has also agreed to make a payment amounting to $57.8 million in fines to US authorities.

It added that on completion of this, it would cease to operate as a bank.

The bank had admitted to allowing over 100 American citizens hide $1.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service for around up to 10 years.

The lender, based in the small Swiss town of St Gallen started business 35 years before the US declaration of independence and becomes the first foreign bank to plead guilty to tax evasion charges in the US.

In recent years, a number of Swiss banks have in recent years moved to prevent US citizens from opening offshore accounts.