Jailed UBS Whistleblower Makes Tax Day Clemency Request
[quote] A former banker for the Swiss giant UBS who blew the whistle on the biggest tax evasion scheme in US history is asking President Obama today for clemency to coincide with Tax Day, the day US income tax returns are due for most people. In January, Bradley Birkenfeld began serving a forty-month sentence despite playing a key role in uncovering the bank scandal. He first came forward to US authorities in 2007 and began providing inside information on how UBS was helping thousands of Americans evade taxes by hiding billions of dollars in secret Swiss accounts. [/quote]
This is incredible. The whistleblower banker who voluntarily went to the authorities to let them know that his company, UBS, was breaking the rules on offshore accounts, got thrown in jail for 40 months. He’s serving more time than any of the tax cheats themselves. This is crazy. You can’t even report to your own government that someone is breaking the law. Granted, the banker was breaking the law, but at least he came forward. His attorney’s statement says it all:
[quote] The government’s sending a terrible, terrible message: don’t blow the whistle; if you do, we’ll take the information you gave us, use it against you, and put you in jail. [/quote]
And then there is the not so “shocking” connection between the government and UBS:
[quote] Specifically, the head of that bank, Mr. Wolf, here in the United States, Robert Wolf, he is a—President Obama named him to his economic recovery commission. He raised—he had the first major fundraiser for Barack Obama in New York, is a close confidante of the President and a frequent visitor, one of the most frequent visitors to the Obama administration in the White House. The White House told the Wall Street Journal several months ago that they believe that UBS Americas had nothing to do with the fraud that was being perpetrated by its parent company. [/quote]
There’s much more in the interview.