WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice is ratcheting up pressure on big banks to squash illegal behavior, pushing Credit Suisse to plead guilty to a criminal charge as part of its landmark $2.6 billion settlement over tax fraud charges. 

The rare move follows mounting criticism that law enforcement and regulators have been too soft on big banks in the wake of the financial crisis, and that so-called deferred prosecution agreements, used to avoid criminal charges, don't go far enough in deterring institutions from wrongdoing. 

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