150 implicated in tax fraud
FORT LAUDERDALE. More than 150 UBS AG clients in the U. S. are under investigation for concealing income and assets offshore at the ba...
FORT LAUDERDALE. More than 150 UBS AG clients in the U. S. are under investigation for concealing income and assets offshore at the bank, a prosecutor said in a court filing.
The scope of the investigation was disclosed today in a memo recommending that former UBS AG banker Bradley Birkenfeld serve 30 months in prison for conspiring to help wealthy Americans evade taxes. Birkenfeld will be sentenced Aug. 21 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Birkenfeld, 44, pleaded guilty in June 2008 to conspiracy, admitting he helped U.S. clients evade taxes through Zurich- based UBS. He seeks leniency for helping in the worldwide tax- fraud probe.
UBS agreed Feb. 18 to pay $780 million to avoid prosecution for helping wealthy Americans evade taxes. The bank gave the names of 250 clients to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. “Ultimately, based upon information obtained from UBS as part of the deferred-prosecution agreement, the United States is criminally investigating more than 150 Americans across the country who are believed to have concealed income and assets at UBS, in violation of United States law,” acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sloman said in the filing.
Three UBS clients pleaded guilty since the agreement to filing false tax returns, and a fourth was charged last week with failing to file a tax report for an offshore account. On Feb. 19, the IRS sued UBS in federal court in Miami, seeking the names of Americans suspected of evading taxes through 52,000 secret Swiss accounts.
Birkenfeld said when he pleaded guilty that UBS earned $200 million a year by managing $20 billion in assets and setting up sham entities for clients in tax havens like Panama and the British Virgin Islands. In pleading guilty, Birkenfeld said as many as 60 UBS private bankers trolled for clients at UBS-sponsored shows.