Editors' Note: This article has been updated to reflect a Correction.
A Swiss lawyer pleaded guilty Friday to conspiring with U.S. taxpayer-clients to hide millions of dollars offshore from the Internal Revenue Service. Edgar Paltzer, a former partner at a Swiss law firm, acted as a financial intermediary to help U.S. citizens stash undeclared assets in Swiss banks and, when authorities began closing in, shifted some of the assets to other banks. He also helped repatriate funds from undeclared Swiss banks in ways designed to keep U.S. authorities ignorant of the accounts. For example, he helped a U.S. taxpayer move assets in the form of jewelry.
Paltzer, 56, of Zurich, pleaded guilty before Southern District Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis (See Profile) to one count of conspiring with U.S. taxpayers and others to evade federal income taxes and file false tax returns. Paltzer, who was originally charged in April along with codefendant Stefan Buck, was arrested earlier this month at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Buck remains at large.
Paltzer faces as much as five years in prison when he is sentenced by Judge Victor Marrero (See Profile) on Feb. 14, 2014. He has been "fully cooperating" with authorities, according to his attorney, Thomas Ostrander of Duane Morris. Southern District assistant U.S. attorneys Jason Cowley, Daniel Levy, David Massey, Sarah Paul and Sarah McCallum represented the government.