By Kevin Gray
FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (Reuters) - A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the release on bond of a Credit Suisse banker arrested on charges of helping wealthy American clients hide their money from U.S. tax authorities when he worked for UBS AG.
U.S. prosecutors accuse Christos Bagios, now a senior banker at Credit Suisse <CSGN.VX>, of assisting U.S. clients to evade taxes on assets and income while he worked at UBS <UBSN.VX><UBS.N> from 1999 through 2005, according to a criminal complaint.
Bagios, a Greek citizen, aided as many 150 U.S. clients in a bid to conceal between $400 million and $500 million from the Internal Revenue Service, the complaint said.
He was ordered released by U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum, but must remain in southern Florida under electronic monitoring while the case continues.
Bond was set at $500,000 and Rosenbaum scheduled Bagios' arraignment for March 17.
Bagios, 45, was arrested in New York on January 26 and transferred to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Lawyers for Bagios have not indicated how he will plea. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.
Bagios is head of Credit Suisse's Relationship Management West Coast group, a private banking unit that is part of Credit Suisse Private Advisors, according to the bank's website.
The charges against him appear to have no direct connection with the case of four other individuals at a Swiss bank, identified by sources with knowledge of the situation as Credit Suisse, who were charged last week with helping Americans dodge U.S. taxes.
U.S. officials are investigating other banks after UBS in the past two years paid $780 million and agreed to hand over nearly 5,000 account names to the U.S. government to settle tax evasion charges.
(Editing by Tom Brown and Bernard Orr)