Divorce & Hidden Money: Gathering Swiss Bank Records Via Compelled Consent Forms

Signing Paperwork

This 17th post in the “Divorce & Hidden Money” series details how compelled consent forms are sometimes used to gather confidential foreign bank account records.  In Doe v. United States, 487 U.S. 201, 108 S. Ct. 2341, 101 L. Ed. 2d 184 (1988), the Court talked about using these forms in connection with grand jury proceedings.  Compelled consent forms may also be used to collect financial evidence from foreign bank witnesses & in other situations.  This post supplies a copy of the kind of compelled consent form I used when I sought evidence regarding a divorcing husband’s secret Swiss bank accounts in Geneva & Zürich:

A scheme to hide marital assets can be as basic as forming shell companies in order to secretly maintain monies in offshore bank accounts. One divorcing husband who carried out this sort of scheme is described at “An Asset Search In Switzerland”. This divorcing husband used a nominee director to establish shell companies. The divorcing husband then instructed the director to use the shell companies to open the secret Swiss bank accounts.

The only bank account signatory listed on the Swiss accounts was this nominee director who the divorcing husband controlled. The divorcing husband eventually transferred millions in marital assets into his secret Swiss accounts. Uncovering much of the foregoing during the discovery phase of her divorce, the divorcing wife retained Swiss counsel. Swiss counsel advised that because of bank secrecy laws, legal proceedings/letters rogatory were needed in Switzerland to elicit evidence of the divorcing husband’s Swiss bank accounts.

To try to facilitate the release of the secret Swiss bank account information, the divorcing wife used a compelled consent form.  The divorcing wife did this by seeking a court order requiring the director listed as the bank signatory, to execute a form authorizing the release of banking records.  Once the director executed this compelled consent form, Swiss counsel could present the form to the Swiss banks in an effort to access the divorcing husband’s account opening documents, monthly bank account statements and other banking records.  The following is one of the compelled consent forms,¹ employed in the divorcing wife’s legal matter.

¹ The compelled consent form herein has been sanitized/changed for privacy reasons.

First image courtesy of Flickr (Licensed) by Dan Moyle


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