|Clemency sought for imprisoned UBS whistle-blower|
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.
The Justice Department, which handles clemency requests for the president, declined to comment Wednesday. Such petitions generally remain under review for months; Obama has not yet granted a pardon or reduced a prison sentence despite receiving more 2,300 requests, according to Justice Department figures.
In the petition, Birkenfeld said that he met with federal investigators voluntarily "at his own expense and risk to his life" and provided them with hundreds of internal documents "recording the illegal actions of UBS" and naming dozens of wealthy American tax cheats. Birkenfeld is a U.S. citizen who lived in Switzerland for 15 years.
Prosecutors, however, said he withheld information about his own dealings with California billionaire Igor Olenicoff, a former UBS client who pleaded guilty in 2007 to tax charges. Yet Birkenfeld said he did provide disclosures about Olenicoff before he was indicted in the South Florida tax case.
Birkenfeld is currently scheduled for release from a Pennsylvania federal prison on Nov. 29, 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. Prosecutors have said they may seek a sentence reduction in return for Birkenfeld's continued cooperation, but have not done so yet.
The Whistleblowers Center is also starting online petition drive urging Obama to grant Birkenfeld clemency.On the Net:
Whistleblowers Center: http://www.whistleblowers.org
Justice Dept. Office of Pardon Attorney: http://www.justice.gov/pardon/
By CURT ANDERSON (AP)