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Credit Suisse admits US securities wrongs, pays fine

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse has admitted it violated US securities laws and will pay US$196 million to settle the charges, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

WASHINGTON: Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse has admitted it violated US securities laws and will pay US$196 million to settle the charges, the Securities and Exchange Commission said on Friday.

The SEC action came as the Department of Justice investigates Credit Suisse for allegedly helping US citizens illegally avoid taxes.

The SEC said that Credit Suisse Group violated laws by providing cross-border brokerage and investment advisory services to US clients without first registering with the SEC.

According to the SEC, the Zurich-based global bank began conducting the unregistered services as early as 2002 and had collected about US$82 million in fees on the accounts before completely exiting the business in mid-2013.

As many as 8,500 US client accounts were amassed, containing an average total of US$5.6 billion in securities assets.

"The broker-dealer and investment adviser registration provisions are core protections for investors," Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, said in a statement.

"As Credit Suisse admitted as part of the settlement, its employees for many years failed to comply with these requirements, and the firm took far too long to achieve compliance."

"We are pleased to have resolved this issue with the SEC," Credit Suisse said in a statement.

Credit Suisse is among 14 Swiss-based banks under investigation by the Department of Justice over their suspected complicity in tax evasion by US citizens

"While we continue to work to resolve this matter, the timing and outcome remain uncertain," the bank said.

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