- Peter Schiff’s bank is the target of an investigation by the “J5,” a collection of tax authorities from major western governments.
- The probe said it banked known criminals with little scrutiny, according to The Age.
- Schiff denies the allegations.
A tax probe involving authorities from Australia, US, UK, the Netherlands and Canada alleges that Euro Pacific Bank, the full-reserve bank run by Bitcoin skeptic Peter Schiff, provided banking services to known organized criminals and tax evaders with little scrutiny, an investigation by major Australian newspapers and the New York Times found.
Euro Pacific Bank, based in Puerto Rico, describes itself as a “means for American investors to gain exposure to those areas of the global economy that have largely avoided the crushing debt burden that has swamped many developed economies.” It offers its customers low tax rates and privacy.
Tax offices from the five nations launched a probe called “Operation Atlantis” against the bank after Dutch authorities gained access to its customers’ details in a leak. The customer list showed that Euro Capital banked known financial criminals, among them Simon Anquetil, whom Australian authorities imprisoned for five years for masterminding a $105 million tax fraud scheme, Plutus Payroll.
The Age reported that Euro Pacific made little attempt to scrutinize its customers, many of whom came from shady pasts. On the list of clients was a Russian crime syndicate the FBI calls the worst cyber crime group in the world, reported The Age.
Schiff denied the allegations in a fiery home interview with Australian TV show 60 Minutes. He said, “we’re not involved in any illegal activity,” that he’s “not involved in the day to day operations of the bank,” and that his bank “turns down far more accounts than we approve because our compliance is so rigorous”. When pressed on the matter, Schiff ripped off his microphone and quit the interview.
He said Operation Atlantis has “got nothing to do with reality.” The IRS visited Schiff on January 24. The probe is still ongoing. With its large customer list, it’ll take a long time for tax authorities to get to the bottom of it all.