It looks like US folks were opening a Wells Fargo account that would then be directed to one of CIBC’s offshore affiliates.
Could be very reasonable reasons for doing this. Perhaps not. All will be mixed in the same pot.
The Justice Department announced that late yesterday a federal court in San Francisco entered an order authorizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to serve a John Doe summons seeking information about U.S. taxpayers who may hold offshore accounts at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCIB). The order was signed by Senior District Judge Thelton E. Henderson. The IRS summons seeks records of FCIB’s United States correspondent account at Wells Fargo N.A., which will allow the IRS to identify U.S. taxpayers who hold or held interests in financial accounts at FCIB and other financial institutions that used FCIB’s Wells Fargo correspondent account.
Pursuant to a petition filed by the United States, the Court granted the IRS permission to serve what is known as a “John Doe” summons on Wells Fargo. The IRS uses John Doe summonses to obtain information about possible violations of internal revenue laws by individuals whose identities are unknown. This John Doe summons directs Wells Fargo to produce records identifying U.S. taxpayers with accounts at FCIB and other banks that used FCIB’s correspondent account.
According to the declaration of IRS Revenue Agent Cheryl R. Kiger filed in support of the petition, FCIB is based in Barbados and has branches in 18 Caribbean countries. Although FCIB does not have U.S. branches, it maintains a correspondent account in the United States at Wells Fargo Bank N.A. As alleged in Agent Kiger’s declaration, the IRS learned that U.S. taxpayers were using FCIB to help them keep their offshore accounts undetected by the IRS and not to pay U.S. federal income tax on money placed in those offshore accounts. Kiger’s declaration describes her review of the information submitted by more than 120 FCIB customers who participated in the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. According to the Kiger declaration, many of the FCIB customers in the John Doe class may have been under-reporting income, evading income taxes, or otherwise violating the internal revenue laws of the United States.
CIBC FirstCaribbean is a major Caribbean bank offering a full range of market-leading financial services in Corporate Banking, Retail Banking, Wealth Management, Credit Cards, Treasury Sales and Trading, and Investment Banking. It is the largest, regionally-listed bank in the English-and Dutch speaking Caribbean. The bank has over 3,400 staff; 69 branches, 22 banking centres, and seven offices in 17 regional markets.
CIBC FirstCaribbean is the region’s leading provider of best-in-class banking solutions that can be tailored to the specific needs of our valued clients.