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Swiss Life says contacted by US authorities

© AFP/File | Insurer Swiss Life says relevant all insurance contracts had been reported under US anti-tax evasion laws that require reporting of assets owned by US citizens

ZURICH (AFP) - 

Swiss insurer Swiss Life said Thursday it has been contacted by the US Department of Justice regarding its cross-border business with American clients.

The firm said its business with US clients via its Swiss Life Liechtenstein and Swiss Life Singapore units amounts to approximately 250 million Swiss francs ($260 million, 220 million euros).

It said all insurance contracts had been reported under US anti-tax evasion laws that require reporting of assets owned by US citizens.

Swiss Life said portfolio of business with US clients had previously totalled as much as 1 billion Swiss francs.

"Swiss Life will use the opportunity for dialogue and explain its past cross-border business in cooperation with the US authorities," it said, without providing any additional information about the nature of the contact from the Department of Justice.

Swiss Life is particularly active in retirement savings and asset management.

In recent years, the United States has tightened its crackdown on tax evasion by requiring foreign financial institutions to report assets held by US citizens.

In order to keep access to the US market, Switzerland agreed to dismantle its long cherished bank secrecy practices.

Credit Suisse, the Alpine nation's number two bank, was slapped with a $2.8-billion fine in 2014 after pleading guilty to having helped rich Americans evade taxes.

© 2017 AFP