5-Part Series by Michael Bronner published on Global Post
Part 1: A UBS insider blows the whistle on Swiss banking
NEW YORK - It's the inner sanctum of Swiss banking - the heavily-guarded nexus between numbered Swiss bank accounts and their owner's good names - and it's the rare American that is allowed entry.
ZURICH-Swiss legislators approved a law that clears the way for the government to hand over the names of thousands of alleged U.S. tax evaders to the Internal Revenue Service, dodging the risk that the U.S. would reopen a bruising tax case against Swiss bank UBS AG.
They could make him rich, and they could send him to prison. They could expose thousands of Americans who had hidden money from the Internal Revenue Service, and they could implicate one of the world's most powerful financial institutions in a far-reaching fraud against the U.S. government. They could topple Switzerland from its vaunted position as secret banker to the world.
(NY Daily News) A former banker who blew the whistle on thousands of secret bank accounts rich Americans held at Swiss giant UBS claimed Thursday some U.S. politicians also kept off-shore accounts with the bank.
(Wall Street Journal) Jailed whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld will detail his role in exposing widespread tax evasion in the Swiss banking industry in a clemency request he plans to make to President Barack Obama on Thursday.
Birkenfeld, 45, began serving a 40-month sentence in January for his role in helping wealthy Americans evade taxes. He was formerly a banker at UBS AG (UBS).
MIAMI (AP) - An imprisoned ex-Swiss banker credited with exposing widespread tax evasion at Swiss bank UBS AG is seeking clemency from President Barack Obama, his attorneys said Wednesday.
Lawyers at the Washington-based National Whistleblowers Center said they will file a clemency petition Thursday for Bradley Birkenfeld, timing it to coincide with the day U.S. income tax returns are due for most people. The petition seeks a reduction in Birkenfeld's three-year-plus sentence for a fraud conspiracy conviction to time served since he reported to prison Jan. 8.
MINERSVILLE, Pa.-Bradley Birkenfeld, the whistle-blower who helped expose widespread tax evasion in the Swiss banking industry, insists he would do it all over again. But, he would do it very differently.
With the benefit of hindsight sharpened by the view from the Pennsylvania prison where he began serving three-plus years in January, Mr. Birkenfeld says he is an informant who blew on the wrong whistle.
The 45-year-old Mr. Birkenfeld has a new legal team and tactics in place, and fuelled by anger at how he was treated by the Justice Department, he plans to ask President Barack Obama to commute his sentence. He also still hopes to claim a multimillion-dollar reward from an Internal Revenue Service whistle-blower office, which may begin paying monetary rewards this year.
Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Bradley Birkenfeld, a key informant in the U.S. investigation of offshore tax evasion at UBS AG, began a 40-month prison term today at a federal facility in Minersville, Pennsylvania.
Since Birkenfeld approached U.S. authorities about UBS’s practices in 2007, seven former UBS clients, including a billionaire real-estate developer, have pleaded guilty. One, former Boeing Co. manager Roberto Cittadini, was sentenced today to six months of house arrest by a federal judge in Seattle.
Below is a summary of the cases against the bank, former UBS clients, and their enablers:
A campaign is building in the United States to defend Bradley Birkenfeld, the former employee of Swiss bank UBS who has started serving a 40-month prison term.
Birkenfeld blew the whistle on illegal practices by UBS, in which the bank helped Americans avoid paying taxes, but was himself sentenced after pleading guilty in 2008 to conspiring to defraud the US by helping a billionaire hide $200 million (SFr205.3 million) from tax authorities.
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