Dutch and British tax authorities have arrested a Dutch man and his British wife, recovering millions of euros in an ongoing tax evasion probe apparently involving Swiss bank accounts, officials said Wednesday.
The news came after at least four European countries and Australia said last week they had launched a sweeping investigation, reportedly targeting the Swiss financial giant Credit Suisse (IOB: 0QP5.IL - news) .
"A 51-year-old Dutch man and his British wife, 46 were arrested after a joint investigation with the British Revenue and Customs Service and more than six million euros ($6.3 million) has been confiscated," the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) said.
"The couple allegedly used their marketing business in Manchester to commit tax fraud and launder money via offshore accounts in The Netherlands, Germany and Austria," the FIOD added in the statement.
During Tuesday's raids, agents also seized two villas in The Netherlands, luxury British and German cars and a speedboat, as well raiding the couple's business and homes in Austria, Britain and The Netherlands.
Tax authorities became suspicious of the couple after they withdrew more than 300,000 euros in cash from Dutch banks using credit cards linked to foreign bank accounts, the FIOD said.
It was not immediately clear if Tuesday's arrests were linked to the international investigations launched last week.
The FIOD drew no links between the couple's arrests and the Swiss tax fraud probe, except to say that it had recently received information about more than 3,800 Dutch citizens who have a bank account "at a Swiss bank."
None of the authorities have confirmed that Credit Suisse was targeted last week. The Swiss financial giant simply said that its offices in London, Paris and Amsterdam had been visited by local authorities on Thursday "concerning client tax matters".
"We are cooperating with the authorities", Switzerland's number-two bank said in a statement.
In double-page ads in European papers this week, Credit Suisse has insisted that it has "zero tolerance" for tax evasion.
Credit Suisse's head of international wealth management, Iqbal Khan, told the Bloomberg news agency at the weekend that he understood the probe was focused strictly on the bank's clients.