- Business and Employment»
- Business & Corporate Finance
Crook Alert! 52,000 Secret Bank Accounts of American Tax Evaders Hidden by UBS and Credit Suisse Gnomes of Zurich 3-9-12
A Gnome of Zurich Salutes U.S. Tax Authorities
5-20-14NYTimes "Big Swiss Bank Pleads Guilty in Felony Tax Evasion Case"
2-27-14NYTimes "Senate Panel Says Credit Suisse Helped Hide U.S. Assets"
"Credit Suisse helped thousands of Americans hide billions of dollars in assets from United States tax authorities."
1-31-13WallStreetJournal--"U.S. Is Preparing More Tax Evasion Cases" by Laura Saunders
- U.S. Crackdown on Undeclared Secret Bank Accounts
4 yrs. after an agreement between U.S. and Switzerland pierced a veil of secrecy by requiring Swiss bank UBS to turn over names of account holders, defense lawyers say prosecutors are conducting 100 criminal investigations of suspected tax evaders.
12-20-12NYTimes--UBS Pleads Guilty to Fraud in Libor Rate Case
- Leniency Denied, UBS Unit Admits Guilt in Rate Case - NYTimes.com
UBS scrambled until the last minute to avoid having its subsidiary plead guilty to fraud.
11-6-12NYTimes (Reuters) Ex-Swiss Banker Admits Aid to U.S. Tax Evaders
- Christos Bagios, Former Swiss Banker, Pleads Guilty in Tax Evasion Case - NYTimes.com
A judge noted in the sentencing of Christos Bagios, a former banker with UBS and Credit Suisse, that Mr. Bagios had aided a federal investigation into tax evasion and Swiss banking practices.
10-28-12NYTimes--The Gnomes Help the Greeks Evade Taxes, Too!
- List of Swiss Accounts Turns Up the Heat in Greece - NYTimes.com
A Greek magazine published a list of more than 2,000 Greeks said to have accounts in a Swiss bank, raising the stakes in a battle over whether officials had used it to check for possible tax evasion.
3-9-12NYTimes--Swiss Continue to Seek Deal on Banking Secrecy
- Swiss President Wants Tax Accord From U.S. - NYTimes.com
''We could sign it tomorrow if the United States wants to do it," said President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who is also finance minister...Relations between the United States and Switzerland have been troubled by the question of tax evasion since 2008,
UBS Suspected of Helping 52,000 Americans Evade U.S. Income Taxes
In February 2009, UBS (United Bank of Switzerland) agreed to pay $780,000,000 to settle charges that it helped 52,000 Americans evade U.S. income taxes through secret offshore "black accounts." Since the settlement, UBS has resisted efforts of the U.S. Justice Department to force it to divulge the names of its American secret account holders. UBS maintains that revealing the names of secret account holders would be a criminal violation of Swiss banking laws. UBS turned over the names of 250 suspected U.S. tax evaders to U.S. authorities in February, a move that was criticized by the Swiss Bankers' Accociation.
UBS has suffered massive losses in subprime mortgage investments and received a $59 billion bailout from the Swiss government last fall.
8-16-11NYTimes--Gnomes of Zurich Still Helping US Tax Cheaters
- Swiss Banks, Aiding and Abetting - NYTimes.com
Despite the I.R.S.s efforts, wealthy American tax cheats are still able to hide their money because Swiss banks are still eager to help them.
6-28-11NYtimes--UBS Client Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion
- Ex-Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion - NYTimes.com
Kenneth Heller, who hid more than $26.4 million at UBS and will pay a fine of $9.8 million, faces a maximum prison term of 15 years.
U.S. Explores New Penalties for Overseas Banks for Aiding Tax Evasion
- Overseas Banks Could Face Novel Penalty From U.S. - NYTimes.com
The Justice Department is exploring whether it can fine overseas banks that have aided tax evasion 50 percent of the total balance for the accounts in question.
- The Cheaters and Their Banks - NYTimes.com
Its going to take more high-profile action against financial institutions to force them out of the tax-cheat racket.
1-26-11NYTimes--HSBC a Target of Tax Evasion Investigation
- There are Gnoimes in London as Well as Zurich!
Federal authorities are considering whether to serve a broad legal summons on HSBC to ascertain whether it sold tax-evasion services to scores of wealthy American clients, people briefed on the matter said Wednesday.
1-24-11New York Times--IRS Offers 2nd Amnesty to Tax Cheats
- Second Chance for Tax Cheats
The Internal Revenue Service said on Monday that it would soon announce a new amnesty program aimed at encouraging wealthy Americans with hidden offshore bank accounts to come forward, declare their money and pay taxes owed.
1-17-11NYTimes--Ex-Swiss Banker Gives Data on Secret Accounts to WikiLeaks
- Ex-Swiss Banker Gives Data on 2000 Secret Accounts to WikiLeaks
A former senior Swiss bank executive said on Monday that he had given the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, details of more than 2,000 prominent individuals and companies that he contends engaged in tax evasion and other possible criminal activity.
12-23-10N YTimes UBS Banker Pleads Guilty in Tax Evasion Case
- Ex-UBS Banker Pleads Guilty in Tax Evasion Case
A former UBS private banker pleaded guilty on Wednesday to helping wealthy American clients evade taxes through hidden Swiss accounts, an admission obtained in part by prosecutors secret recording of a meeting between the banker and an important cli
12-22-10NYTimes--Deutchebank Settles Tax Fraud Case for $553 Million
- There are Tax Fraud Gnomes in Germany as well as Zurich!
Deutsche Bank agreed to pay $553 million and admit to criminal wrongdoing on Tuesday, settling a long-running investigation into tax shelter fraud that prosecutors say generated billions of dollars in bogus tax benefits.
11-17-10NYTimes--U.S. Ends Inquiry of UBS Tax Evasion Issues
- UBS Tax Evasion Inquiry Ends
The Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday dropped its legal push to force the Swiss bank UBS to disclose the names of scores of American clients suspected of offshore tax evasion, but the agency said it was ramping up its scrutiny of other banks.
6-18-10 NYTimes--At last! Swiss Approve Deal for UBS to Reveal U.S. Clients Suspected of Tax Evasion
- Swiss Lawmakers Approve Deal for UBS to Reveal Names of U.S. Secret Account Holders
The Justice Dept and the IRS plan to use the approval, which came after months of legal and diplomatic wrangling between the two sides and within Switzerland, as a springboard to force other Swiss banks to hand over details of similar clients.
6-16-10 Boston Globe--Swiss Lawmakers May Hold Referendum on UBS Deal
- Swiss lawmakers may send UBS deal to a popular vote - The Boston Globe
Swiss lawmakers have approved a deal to disclose the names of thousands of US clients suspected of evading taxes through accounts at a UBS bank, but whether American prosecutors get the names could now be up to Swiss voters. COMMENTS (0) Th
5-21-10 NYTimes--Deal Near on UBS Secret Accounts
- Deal Near on Swiss Secret UBS Accounts
A Swiss parliamentary commission signaled on Friday that it was likely to accept an agreement with United States to hand over data on clients of the bank UBS suspected of tax evasion.
5-13-10NYTimes--Imminent End of Secrecy to Shake Up Swiss Banking
- Eminent end to Swiss bank secrecy
As Swiss lawmakers appear poised to resolve a tax dispute between UBS and Washington, one thing is becoming clear: an end to absolute banking secrecy will change the countrys pre-eminent financial sector.
4-13-NYTimes--UBS Client Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud
- Harry Abrahamsen of Oradell, NJ, Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud
Abrahamsen used a sham offshore corp. in Panama to hide his UBS accounts. Prosecutors charged him with failing to file disclosures to the I.R.S. in 2005. He also failed to disclose his UBS account and one he had opened for his daughter.
3-31-10 NYTimes--Swiss Closer to Releasing Names of Secret Accounts
- Swiss Close to Releasing 4,000 Names of Secret Account Holders
The Swiss cabinet said on Wednesday that it no longer supported rulings by two Swiss courts that have prevented a planned handover of more than 4,000 names of UBS clients suspected of tax evasion.
1-28-10 NYTimes--Switzerland Backs Away From Deal to Disclose 52,000 U.S. Secret Account Holders
- Swiss Gnomes Back Away from Disclosure Deal with U.S.
The Swiss government on Wednesday backed off an agreement with the United States that required it to hand over the names of wealthy American clients of the Swiss bank UBS who were suspected of tax evasion, Lynnley Browning reported in The NY Times.
1-19-10 NYTimes Lynnley Browning "Swiss Banker Blows Whistle on Tax Evasion
- Gnome of Zurich Blows the Whistle on Swiss Tax Evasion Schemes
It is a global problem, and I am only the messenger who provides the bad news, or even better, the truth, Mr. Elmer, 54, wrote in a recent e-mail message. Offshore tax evasion is the biggest theft among societies and neighbor states in this world.
Judge Won't Reconsider Jail Time for Key UBS Informant
A federal judge refused to reconsider or postpone a 40-month prison sentence for former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld, 44, who is headed for the slammer January 8. Birkenfeld pleaded guilty in 2008 to helping U.S. citizens evade income tax. In a legal motion filed December 26 Birkenfeld disputed prosecutors' statements that he wasn't "fully forthcoming" while cooperating with the U.S. government's investigation of UBS's offshore banking practices. UBS agreed last year to pay a $780 million fine in a deal to avoid criminal prosecution.
[Excerpted from an article by Brent Kendall in the Wall Street Journal 1-5-10]
11-17-09 NYTimes--14,700 Secret Accounts Seek Amnesty
- 14,700 Secret Account Holders Come Forward to IRS
The Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday that more that 14,700 Americans had been attracted to an amnesty program in recent months and disclosed their secret foreign bank accounts many more than had been attracted to a previous I.R.S. program.
10-14-09 Huffington Post--7,500 Americans Come Forward on Secret Accounts
- UBS Bank Accounts: More Than 7,500 Americans Come Forward About Secret Foreign Accounts
Faced with a Thursday midnight deadline to avoid possible prosecution, more than 7,500 Americans have come clean about secret foreign bank accounts, a senior IRS official said in an interview for broadcast tonight on "ABC World News with Charles Gibs
10-12-09 NYTimes--A Day of Reckoning for Holders of Offshore Bank Accounts
- October 16--The Day of Reckoning for Holders of Offshore Bank Accounts
Thurs. is the deadline for Americans to come clean about the money they've hidden offshore, in places like Swiss bank accounts. No one can say for sure how much money is out therethe accounts are secret but the hoard may be tens of billions of $.
9-26-09 NYTimes--NJ Businessman Pleads Guilty
- New Jersey Businessman Pleads Guilty to Hiding $5 million
Federal prosecutors accused Mr. Homann of failing to submit a form known as an F-bar in 2007 disclosing his UBS accounts, and of using a foundation in Liechtenstein, a tax haven, to conceal the trail. The filings said that he concealed $5 million.
8-21-09 Associated Press IN NYT Ex-UBS Banker Sentenced
- UBS Bankster, Bradley Birkenfield gets 3 Years in the Slammer
Bradley Birkenfeld, an American, was given credit by prosecutors for voluntarily disclosing illegal tactics by the Swiss banking giant.
8-23-09 NY Times A Privileged World Begins to Give Up its Secrets
- A Privileged World Gives Up Its Secrets
Others have copied the model — Liechtenstein, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Macao, Hong Kong. While Switzerland is seen as the most conservative offshore haven, the others are measured by a scale from dubious business practices to organized crime.
8-22-09 NYTimes Editorial on UBS Settlement
- U.S. Settlement with UBS
The deal between the U. S. and Switzerland to provide the names of 4,450 secret accounts held by Americans at UBS is a blow for fairness. If Switzerland lives up to its commitment, it may the e beginning of the end of international tax cheating.
8-14-09 NYTimes US Builds Cases on UBS Clients
- U.S. Builds Case on UBS Client Tax-evaders
Federal prosecutors are building criminal cases against 150 wealthy American clients of the Swiss banking giant UBS as part of a continuing investigation into tax evasion, a person briefed on the matter said Thursday.
8-13-09 UBS May Cough Up 5,000 Names of Secret Account Holders
- UBS and U.S. Justice Department Agreement
It's unclear how many client names UBS will ultimately reveal or whether it will pay a fine. UBS and the Swiss government have been fighting efforts by the Justice Department to force it to disclose the names of 52,000 wealthy American clients of UBS
7-31- NYT U.S. and UBS Settlement of Tax Case Involving Secret Accounts
- UBS and U.S. Settlement
Switzerland and the U.S. reached an agreement in principle on Friday to settle out of court a closely watched case that seeks to force the Swiss banking giant UBS to turn over the names of wealthy American clients suspected of tax evasion.
7-8-09 NY Times Swiss Goverment Attempts to Stop UBS from Revealing Names of American Tax Cheats
- Swiss Goverment Bars Release of Names of U.S. Tax Cheats
PARIS — The Swiss government said Wednesday that it was prepared to seize U.B.S. client data rather than allow the bank to hand it over to the United States to settle a tax case.
6-23-09 Justice Department Denies it's Dropping Suit Against UBS Secret Accounts
- Justice Department Denies its Dropping UBS Suit over Secret Accounts
The Justice Department issued a statement on Tuesday denying a New York Times report that it was considering dropping a closely watched lawsuit against the Swiss bank UBS, seeking the names of 52,000 wealthy American clients suspected of offshore tax
$100 Billion the Country Could Use New York Times 3-14-09
$100 Billion the Country Could Use
Published: March 13, 2009
Senate investigators estimate that Americans who hide assets in offshore bank accounts are failing to pay about $100 billion a year in taxes. In good times, that’s grossly unfair and bad for the country. In times like these, it should be intolerable. The government not only needs the money, but closing down such tax scams is essential for President Obama’s rescue effort to retain public support and credibility.
Times Topics: Tax Evasion
Some of the banks at the center of the global financial meltdown are prominent purveyors of evasion services. UBS of Switzerland has acknowledged that as of Sept. 30, it held about 47,000 secret accounts for Americans. It has refused to disclose the names of all but a tiny number of the account holders, arguing that it would be a breach of Swiss law. But last month — after UBS got caught soliciting business in the United States — it admitted to breaking federal law by helping Americans hide assets, and the bank agreed to pay $780 million in fines and restitution.
The United States Treasury isn’t the only one being shorted. The Tax Justice Network, a research and advocacy organization, estimates $11.5 trillion in assets from around the world are hidden in offshore havens.
The United States also isn’t the only country running out of patience. In February, European leaders forged an unusually tough and united call to put the problem of “uncooperative jurisdictions” near the top of the agenda for the April summit of leading economies in London. (Finance ministers will discuss the issue at a preparatory meeting in London this weekend.)
Bankers and their host countries are feeling the heat. In recent days, a rash of governments, including Andorra, Liechtenstein, Singapore and Hong Kong have said they would increase the transparency of their offshore banking business and share more information with tax authorities in depositors’ home countries.
Even the Swiss government has caved — somewhat. On Friday, it announced that it would exchange information with tax authorities in other countries on the basis of “specific and justified” requests, though it resolutely rejected “any form of automatic exchange of information.” Meanwhile, UBS promised to close its secret American accounts and not open any more. The United States is taking UBS to court to try to get the bank to reveal the identities of thousands of accounts.
The government needs more tools to crack down on such international tax evasion. The Internal Revenue Service relies on taxpayers to disclose any foreign bank accounts, and it has no means to routinely get that information from banks in jurisdictions that protect secrecy.
Senator Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is considering legislation that would require banks to inform the I.R.S. when their clients wire money abroad. Senator Carl Levin has introduced a bill that, among other provisions, would allow the United States to bar banks in this country from doing business with foreign banks that refused to cooperate with American tax authorities.
This problem can’t be fixed solely by American law. At the London summit, American officials should work with other governments to come up with a common set of rules to pry information from tax havens.
There are a variety of ideas worth serious consideration. Governments could revoke tax treaties with countries that refuse to cooperate with tax queries — making it much more cumbersome for their companies to do international business. They could restrict their own banks from doing business with banks in uncooperative countries or subject any business with these countries to higher standards of disclosure.
They could start now by publishing blacklists of countries and banks that refuse to cooperate with requests for information from fiscal authorities. A few years ago, most banks and tax havens would have shrugged off such an effort. But in the current environment, they seem to be more sensitive to public shaming.
Next Article in Opinion (4 of 28) » A version of this article appeared in print on March 14, 2009, on page A20 of the New York edition.
Secret Swiss Bank Accounts Under Threat
- Secret Swiss bank accounts under threat - Europe, World - The Independent
Switzerland pledged to maintain its tradition of banking secrecy yesterday after its authorities took the unprecedented step of revealing to US investigators the names of up to 300 American clients of troubled UBS bank who were suspected of tax fraud
UBS Secret Accounts NYT 2-26-08
NY Times Editorial May 3, 2009
The Swiss and Their Secrets
Published: May 2, 2009
Switzerland’s president has offered a deal. He said it would be easier to complete a new bilateral tax treaty if Washington dropped its legal action against UBS, the Swiss bank that tens of thousands of wealthy Americans have used to hide their money from the I.R.S.
The offer looks tempting. Under international pressure, Switzerland has indicated a willingness to relax its bank secrecy rules and abide by new global guidelines. A new tax treaty, which Treasury officials were negotiating last week, would give the Internal Revenue Service access to information it needs to collect taxes from Americans with secret accounts. It is still a bad deal.
It would let off the hook thousands of people who have used UBS to avoid billions in taxes. This money is owed. The Treasury certainly needs it. And it is doubtful that Switzerland, no matter what it claims, would jeopardize a treaty that all Swiss companies that do business in the United States need, for reasons including protecting themselves from possible double taxation.
The Swiss government claims that the American demand that UBS hand over the names of 52,000 United States customers with secret accounts is not far from a fishing expedition, forbidden under international guidelines. But UBS has already been caught soliciting illicit business in the United States. It admitted in court that it sent dozens of bankers on thousands of trips with devious stratagems to hide money from tax authorities.
According to court documents, by the middle of the decade these American accounts held about $15 billion in assets and generated revenues for UBS of more than $120 million a year.
We understand that the Swiss government is worried about the future of its biggest bank, in which it recently sunk taxpayer money. We welcome its newfound openness — however reluctantly given. But the United States need not condone the illegal tax evasion of the past for a shot at stopping illegal tax evasion in the future. The Obama administration should, politely, say no.
4-16-10-NYTimes--HSBC Big London Bank Implicated in Aiding Tax Fraud Scheme
- HSBC Implicated in Tax Fraud Scheme
Federal authorities arrested two property developers, a father and son, on Thursday and charged them with participating in a multimillion-dollar tax evasion scheme through a large international bank (HSBC), The NY Timess Lynnley Browning reported.
Gnomes Hide Money for Itallians, Too!
- UBS Gnomes of Zurich Hide Money for Italians, Too--CROOK ALERT!
Gnome of Zurich Lugano, a town of 57,000 near the Italian border has become a major haven for Italian tax evaders. Last summer the Italian government, to make up for government budget deficits, began a...
6-20-08NYTimes--Former UBS Banker Pleads Guilty to Aiding Tax Evasion
- Former UBS Banker Pleads Guilty to Aiding Tax Evasion - NYTimes.com
In his plea, Bradley C. Birkenfeld agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in their investigation of UBS practices, which may reveal the names of scores of wealthy American clients.