The Trump administration has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to reverse a ruling by the IRS that it had no basis to pursue a tax fraud prosecution against Wells Fargo over allegations that it allowed millions of dollars in fraudulent accounts to lapse.
The Trump Justice Department argued that the IRS had no authority to prosecute the bank for failing to properly investigate, report and report, and recover the money.
“The government is simply not entitled to a jury trial because it is not required to show a prima facie case to support its motion,” the government wrote in the petition to the 9st Circuit.
“The IRS can pursue a civil forfeiture action without showing that it has probable cause to believe that the property at issue is derived from illegal activity.”
Wells Fargo and the Justice Department both declined to comment on the filing.
The government also asked the court to uphold the judgment of the 9f Circuit Court of Appeal that Wells Fargo had failed to prove its case.
The 9th circuit had rejected the government’s argument in April that the bank failed to establish a “clear and present danger” that its account holders would commit tax fraud.
Wells Fargo is one of several financial institutions targeted by the government in a multi-year civil forfeiture case.
Last month, the 9c Circuit Court upheld a decision by the U,S.
District Court for the District of Columbia, which had ordered Wells Fargo to forfeit $4.6 billion in assets from the case.
Wells Fargo said it is committed to fighting the forfeiture, which the bank’s former CEO, John Stumpf, said would be “the largest civil forfeiture in U.C.L.A. history.”
“The financial system and its customers are safer because we are fighting this case,” Stumpff said.
Wells is not alone in being targeted by prosecutors in the civil forfeiture campaign.
The Justice Department has also asked a federal judge in Utah to reject a civil seizure in connection with the case against HSBC Holdings Plc, which is facing criminal charges in the case over alleged illegal transfers of customer accounts.
Forbes, a financial news website, reported in April on allegations that HSBC, through a subsidiary, allowed $6.5 billion to disappear from bank accounts in the U., a move that could lead to billions in fines and billions in criminal penalties.
HSBC and other financial institutions were also targeted by a federal investigation in connection to allegations that they had improperly sold mortgage-backed securities to wealthy clients, including the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, the son of Russian President Vladimir Putin.