FIRST CLASS MAIL January 15, 2010
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Re: URGENT REQUEST FOR COMMUTATION OF SENTENCE FOR UBS WHISTLEBLOWER BRADLEY CHARLES BIRKENFELD
Dear President Obama,
We appeal to you today in our capacity as long-term advocates against fraud and corruption.
We ask that you commute UBS whistleblower Bradley Charles Birkenfeld's 40-month prison sentence to time served. This needs to be done immediately in order to correct the personal harm inflicted on Bradley Birkenfeld, and reverse the devastating impact Mr. Birkenfeld’s case will have on international law enforcement efforts.
Mr. Birkenfeld’s unprecedented voluntary disclosures led directly to the agreement between the United States and UBS AG for the payment of$780,000,000.00 in fines and penalties. His disclosures led to the creation of an IRS amnesty program, in which 14,700 people have come forward and admitted to illegal secret accounts, resulting in the recovery of billions of dollars by the IRS. Mr. Birkenfeld’s whistleblower contributions also led to the termination of the entire $20 billion illegal UBS program that existed to solicit and encourage wealthy Americans to hide their money in secret offshore accounts, and the creation of a new international tax treaty between the U.S. and Switzerland.
It has been said that Mr. Birkenfeld withheld information regarding his wealthiest client, Igor Olenicoff, but these statements are now known to be incorrect. Mr. Birkenfeld voluntarily released this information in 2007 to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and other government agencies. The Senate has a transcript detailing all of the disclosures Mr. Birkenfeld made, including those regarding Mr.Olenicoff, and confirms that these disclosures were made before Mr.Olenicoff was indicted or submitted any plea.
In return for his extraordinary cooperation with the U.S. government,Mr. Birkenfeld remains the only banker involved the in the largest illegal tax scheme in history to receive a prison sentence. He also spent over 19 months in a home confinement program, which included electronic monitoring, a curfew, and travel restrictions. So far,everyone prosecuted in relation to the UBS tax scheme has received minor sentences, including probation, fines, community service, no more than 3 months in prison and/or house arrest. The director of the entire UBS program, Martin Liechti, was released by U.S. authorities and allowed to return to Switzerland without any prosecution.
International treaties, signed by the U.S. fully acknowledge that bank secrecy is the handmaiden of corruption. These treaties agree that corruption undermines the rule of law and threatens human rights around the world. The destructive impact of Mr. Birkenfeld's sentencing will radically undermine the ability of law enforcement to detect, prosecute and prevent illegal off-shore banking practices.
Due the impact of Mr. Birkenfeld's disclosure on compliance and law enforcement efforts worldwide, we ask that you immediately issue a presidential pardon or commute Mr. Birkenfeld’s sentence to time served in order to ensure that the policies underlined in U.S. whistleblower laws are fully and completely vindicated.
We believe great importance must be placed on the public policy implications of Mr. Birkenfeld’s case, international bankers must be able to come forward to report illegal practices like those exposed by Mr. Birkenfeld. Please carefully evaluate Mr. Birkenfeld’s case versus the strong public interest in encouraging other whistleblowers to step forward.
Lindsey M. Williams, Esq.
Director of Advocacy and Development
National Whistleblowers Center
Homeland Security Director
Government Accountability Project
Center for Corporate Policy
David W. Hutton
Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform (FAIR)
Zena Crenshaw Logal
Executive Comm. Chair
National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc.
Dr. Andrew D. Jackson
Asst. Campaign Chair
Joe Carson, PE
OSC Watch Steering Committee
Don Soeken, L.C.S.W.-C, PhD
Whistleblowers Support Fund
Nancy Swan, SPMB Member
National Forum On Judicial Accountability
Dr. Shirley Moore, National President
Tom Saunders, Founder
Bill of Attainder Project
Josie Perez, Founder
Model Family Organization
L. Wilson, Founder
Diana Claitor, Director
Texas Jail Project
Fred Scottile, President
Fathers 4 Justice of LA
Terry Francke, General Counsel
Samuel H. Sage, President
Atlantic States Legal Foundation, Inc.
James Stevens, C.E.O.
Betsy Combier, President
The E-Accountability Foundation
Organizations can contact Lindsey Williams at email@example.com to sign the letter.
Individuals can support the campaign for a presidential pardon by Taking Action .