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Credit Suisse claims innocence in global press

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Credit Suisse extended its global charm offensive Monday insisting it has "zero tolerance" for tax evasion after hundreds of its clients and top employees became the target of an international fraud probe.

[GENEVA] Credit Suisse extended its global charm offensive Monday insisting it has "zero tolerance" for tax evasion after hundreds of its clients and top employees became the target of an international fraud probe.

The Swiss financial giant took out double-page ads in leading European papers claiming it had no desire to work with tax cheats.

"Credit Suisse applies a strict zero tolerance policy and wishes to conduct business with clients that have paid their taxes and fully declared their assets," Monday's ad said.

The bank complies "with all applicable laws" in areas where it operates, it added.

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It took out similar ads in at least two British Sunday papers.

Authorities in Europe and Australia on Friday announced a massive, coordinated tax fraud and money laundering investigation with hundreds of possible suspects across five countries.

Dutch authorities have made two arrests and seized a gold bar, paintings, a luxury car and other assets.

Credit Suisse's head of international wealth management, Iqbal Khan, told the Bloomberg news agency at the weekend that he understood the probe was focused strictly on the bank's clients.

That claim appeared to be at odds with a statement from Britain's Revenue and Customs office, which referenced "senior employees" of a "global financial institution" as a focus of the investigation.

Mr Khan also told Bloomberg he was surprised by the timing of the probe since Credit Suisse had "taken a proactive stance" against tax evasion in Europe.

Germany and France are part of the investigation, along with Britain, Australia and The Netherlands.

Credit Suisse has confirmed that local authorities searched its offices in London, Paris and Amsterdam on Thursday.

The bank has said it is cooperating with the investigation.

AFP

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