Whistleblower Fears UBS Banker Raoul Weil Will Get Sweetheart Deal

UBS Tax Fraud Kingpin Extradited to United States Faces Hearing Today

Published on December 16, 2013

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Whistleblower Fears UBS Banker Raoul Weil Will Get Sweetheart Deal

Fort Lauderdale, Florida. December 16, 2013.  Raoul Weil, the former head of UBS’s Global Wealth Management business is scheduled to appear for a hearing in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale today. He was extradited to the United States from Italy where he was arrested on an international warrant after being indicted for his role in conspiring to violate U.S. tax laws.  Weil was the top boss for UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld, and controlled the international illegal banking schemes worldwide.

As  head of Global Wealth Management while Birkenfeld worked at the bank, Weil had responsibility for five international regions for which UBS actively solicited wealthy clients to establish secret and illegal accounts and other fraudulent enterprises that permitted hundreds of billions of dollars to be hidden from local taxing authorities, including the United States.  His regions were:  Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe and Americas).  Martin Liechti, who was directly responsible for the illegal banking activities that Birkenfeld exposed, was the head of the America’s program, and reported to Weil.

In 2007, UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld provided the IRS, SEC, U.S. Senate and Department of Justice with unprecedented access to thousands of pages of documents and other information revealing for the first time the international fraud schemes managed by Weil.  Birkenfeld’s historic disclosures led directly to Weil’s indictment in 2008 and his eventual arrest by Italian authorities.

In a statement issued today by Stephen M. Kohn, the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center and one of Mr. Birkenfeld’s attorneys, Kohn warned that the Justice Department “may give Weil a sweetheart deal that could cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars, and set back international efforts to curb corruption.”

Kohn pointed to a highly improper “deal” cut with Martin Liechti, who formally ran the America’s program under Weil’s leadership at UBS.  “Liechti was caught red-handed in the United States, but was permitted to plead the ‘Fifth Amendment’ in testimony before Congress, and soon after permitted to leave the United States without having to face justice for his illegal actions in hiding billions of dollars from the IRS,” Kohn said.

According to Kohn, Weil would have extensive knowledge of UBS’s PEP program:

“UBS had an ultra secret special program for which the bank would accept millions and billions of dollars from ‘Politically Exposed People.’  The program, known as PEP, required bankers to identify PEPs when seeking to open secret accounts.  PEPs would be highly placed government officials and very wealthy individuals from around the world who were seeking to hide dirty money, illicitly obtained from bribes, kick-backs and other illegal activities.”

“PEPs would include American public officials who held illegal accounts,” Kohn said.

“We fear that political pressure from high ranking officials and extremely wealthy individuals, both from the United States and those in power in foreign countries, will result in a cover-up of the PEP scandal.  Weil is one of the very few people in the world who would have information about the PEPs, and any attempt to resolve this case without full accountability for the PEP program, and full exposure of any person enrolled in that program, no matter how high-up the scandal reaches, should be aggressively opposed,” Kohn said.

“Moreover, we fear that Weil may use his knowledge of high placed PEPs to leverage a sweetheart deal.  Any attempt to give Weil leniency in exchange for protecting millionaires, billionaires and corrupt politicians who illegally stole money and tax revenue from their people would undermine the rule of law and further obstruct justice,” Kohn added.

“It is paramount that American taxpayers obtain justice and those responsible for stealing billions of dollars from our government be held fully accountable,” Kohn concluded.

A copy of the UBS bank account opening forms, that Birkenfeld provided to the IRS, SEC, U.S. Senate and DOJ in 2007 are linked here. These forms explicitly reference the PEP program.

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