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SoCal Banker Accused of Helping Tax Dodges

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A Beverly Hills-based banker for an Israeli bank was charged Wednesday with conspiring to defraud the United States by helping customers conceal undeclared accounts in the Tel Aviv-based bank.

Shokrollah Baravarian, formerly a senior vice president for the unidentified bank, helped customer hide their money by opening accounts under pseudonyms in the British Virgin Islands and the island of Nevis, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement announcing the grand jury indictment.

Among other things, Baravarian is accused of helping his customers get their undeclared money through back-to-back loans. A back-to-back loan is secured by undeclared funds in the Israeli account, and the money is issued through the bank's Los Angeles branch. Baravarian helped conceal that customers used their own money as collateral by "purposely not keeping copies of loan-related documents in the files at the Los Angeles branch," prosecutors said in the statement.

If convicted, Baravarian faces up to 5 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

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