Updated Saturday, September 5, 2015 as of 10:19 AM ET

Should U.S. Ask Switzerland to Extradite Bankers?

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Senators Carl Levin and John McCain urged the Justice Department to seek extradition of about 30 Swiss bankers and others who are charged with enabling offshore tax evasion and haven’t appeared in federal courts.

The department should “at least attempt to use” powers under an extradition treaty with the Swiss, Levin and McCain wrote yesterday to Deputy Attorney General James Cole. Levin, a Michigan Democrat, and McCain, an Arizona Republican, lead the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which issued a report last month criticizing the Justice Department’s enforcement efforts involving Swiss banks, including Credit Suisse Group AG.

Since 2009, more than 70 taxpayers and about three dozen bankers, lawyers and advisers have been charged in a crackdown on offshore tax evasion. In testimony to the subcommittee on Feb. 26, Cole said the department hasn’t sought extradition from Switzerland of those indicted by U.S. grand juries. Switzerland doesn’t consider tax evasion a crime.

The extradition treaty “does not bar the extradition of Swiss nationals who assisted U.S. nationals in the commission of criminal tax evasion, and it is time to test the Swiss government’s professed willingness to cooperate with international tax enforcement efforts,” Levin and McCain wrote.

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