Former UBS Banker Cries Foul

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In a complaint to the US Attorney General and the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld claimed prosecutors gave ‘inaccurate, misleading and incomplete’ statements at his hearing and during an interview over CBS’ 60 minutes. Birkenfeld, 44, was the key person who blew the lid on actions by UBS bank of Switzerland in helping wealthy Americans deposit their money in their accounts in order to dodge taxes. Being a one time employee of the bank, Birkenfeld played a part in the bank’s efforts of soliciting American clients. He pleaded guilty to multiple counts of helping American UBS clients avoid taxes, one of which was California real estate billionaire Igor Olenicoff in 2008.  Click here to watch or read more information on IRS Back Taxes.

A Federal court judge sentenced Birkenfeld to three years and four months’ imprisonment. In December last year, Birkenfeld requested a resentencing based on the same reasons stated in his letter to the Attorney General and Justice Department, but the judge denied his request. As such he has been placed under house arrest with electronic monitoring in Massachusetts while awaiting imprisonment on January 8.

In 2007, Birkenfeld started to cooperate with the Justice Department, US Senate and IRS in their investigations into UBS. As a result, in February last year the bank agreed to pay $780 million and reveal identities of 250 account holders suspected of tax evasion in order to avoid prosecution by the feds. Later in the year, the bank agreed to disclose the information on a further 4,150 clients. Under a Voluntary Disclosure Program, another 14,700 US taxpayers revealed details of their offshore bank accounts last year.

Birkenfeld first revealed details about Olenicoff to US Senate investigators, the Securities and Exchange Commission and IRS in October 2007. Two months or so later, Olenicoff himself confessed to filing false tax returns and was eventually fined $52 million in back taxes besides being put under probation. In total last year, 6 former UBS clients pleaded guilty to tax evasion.

In his latest move on the matter, Birkenfeld sent his letter to the Attorney General and Justice Department to request for an internal probe into federal prosecutors’ misconduct. He is being represented by lawyers of the National Whistleblowers Center in Washington who believe that there has been a communication breakdown between the Department of Justice and Birkenfeld which resulted in their client being denied fair treatment despite his cooperation with government investigation.

Check out more IRS Reports stories by clicking that link.

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