Determined criminals hiding assets typically wash assets by using money laundering methods. Laundering methods include: commingling funds; opening secret offshore bank accounts; hoarding & smuggling cash; titling assets in the name of nominees; etc. The Asia/Pacific Group On Money Laundering lists these and other key money laundering methods at its typologies webpage.

The U.S. Government’s tax evasion prosecution of Israel’s Bank Hapoalim discussed some common methods for hiding assets. Federal prosecutors alleged Bank Hapoalim conspired with U.S. taxpayers to hide over $7.6 billion from the IRS in more than 5,500 secret Swiss bank accounts. Pages 2 & 5 at Bank Hapoalim’s Statement of Facts, suggest Bank Hapoalim hid assets through money laundering. Bank Hapoalim’s apparent laundering methods consisted of:

  1. back-to-back loans;
  2. offshore bank accounts;
  3. numbered Swiss bank accounts;
  4. nominee bank accounts, which are bank accounts maintained in the name of an intermediary;
  5. sending bank customers to a Panamanian law firm which formed offshore shell companies;
  6. & a hold mail service which kept monthly bank account statements and other correspondence, offshore.

As was widely reported on or about this past May 1, Bank Hapoalim entered a deferred prosecution agreement to settle the tax evasion case. It agreed to pay nearly $874 million for fines, tax evasion and in forfeited assets the Washington Post says. The $874 million penalty was the U.S. Department of Justice’s second-largest asset recovery from an offshore bank for tax evasion.

Image: Zwiebackesser/

Copyright Fred L. Abrams 2020