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But it wasn't anyone who personally benefited from the little-mentioned Swiss-US Tax Havens, themselves.

No, those Swiss-US clients, got only a stern, scary warning instead.  And ample opportunity to mend their IRS "Tax Dodging" ways.

US files for disclosure of 4,500 Swiss accounts

Geneva, 04 August 2012 --

The out-of-court settlement required that the country's largest bank UBS AG hand over to US authorities information on accounts that are believed to belong to clients who hid their assets from the Internal Revenue Service to avoid paying taxes. Swiss confidentiality laws generally mandate that banks are not allowed to divulge client information.

The 4,450 accounts -- estimated to hold some $18 Billion -- will come on top of data of some 250 accounts that was already handed over in February, when UBS also agreed to pay a fine of $780 million.

UBS has admitted its employees helped clients evade paying taxes, in some cases committing fraud.

And about ... Romney's Tax Returns?

middleclasspoliticaleconomist -- July 18, 2012

Wouldn't it be great if we knew which Swiss bank Romney's money had been hidden in?

In fact, we do know which bank held $3 million of Ann Romney's blind trust. It was UBS.

How do we know? Brad Malt, the Romneys' trustee, said so. Not only that, when Romney released his 2010 tax return in January of this year, he had to amend two previously filed disclosure forms, for 2007 and 2011. In 2007, he had not specified that the UBS account was in Switzerland, not the U.S., according to ABC News (UBS has branches in the U.S.).

Let's review the bidding: Ambiguous disclosure in 2007. UBS income on 2010 tax return. Retroactive revision of 2007 disclosure. IRS amnesty for undisclosed foreign accounts in 2009 powered by UBS prosecution. Refusal to release 2009 tax return. Yes, 2009 could be a big problem.

Romney Failed to Disclose Swiss Bank Account Income

by Matthew Mosk and Brian Ross, -- Jan. 26, 2012

[pg 2]

The discovery that Romney's vast holdings included an account in Switzerland, a country long notorious for helping the very wealthy hide their assets, came during his release of his tax return earlier this week. Malt, who oversees Romney's blind trusts, acknowledged during a conference call with reporters that he decided to shut down the Swiss account because he worried it could create a headache for Romney's campaign. "It might or might not be consistent with Governor Romney's political views," he said. "The taxes were all fully paid … it just wasn't worth it. And I closed the account."

That suggests, Allison said, that the campaign had a motivation to exclude any evidence of the Swiss account from the candidate's forms. The Romney campaign called the omission an oversight.

Mitt Romney had millions in a Swiss bank account, Barack Obama campaign ad says, truth-o-meter -- Jul 16, 2012    [Truth-o-meter says:  it's True.]

Malt responded that "the Swiss bank account was in the Ann Romney blind trust. It held approximately $3 million. It was just an investment of the trust -- the bank account of the trust -- which, as I mentioned, I have subsequently closed. The bank was, sorry, Union Bank Switzerland -- UBS."

Malt’s comments confirm that Romney "had millions in a Swiss bank account" because the couple filed their returns jointly, and the campaign has disclosed tax returns for Ann Romney’s trusts and family trusts, not just Romney’s funds.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign also retroactively disclosed that the couple had a Swiss account in his 2006 presidential financial disclosure form, apparently the same one that was closed in 2010. In the 2006 disclosure form, the UBS money market account was listed as being worth between $1 million and $5 million.

And about that "someone" who saw the full weight of the IRS-Banking Law ... I'm sure those Swiss-US clients feel that Justice was served (the 2nd tier of it at least), in this little-discussed case ...

Why Is the Whistleblower Who Exposed the Massive UBS Tax Evasion Scheme the Only One Heading to Prison? -- January 7, 2010



A former banker for the Swiss giant UBS who blew the whistle on the biggest tax evasion scheme in US history is preparing to head to prison tomorrow to begin serving a forty-month federal sentence.

Bradley Birkenfeld first came forward to US authorities in 2007 and began providing inside information on how UBS was helping thousands of Americans hide assets in secret Swiss accounts. UBS pleaded guilty last February and paid a $780 million fine. UBS has also agreed to turn over the names of the nearly 4,500 of its American clients to the Justice Department. That’s only a portion of the 19,000 it claims the secret accounts of Americans it held. Meanwhile, thousands of other Americans with unreported offshore accounts have been allowed to belatedly disclose them and pay civil penalties.


Government prosecutors have admitted the massive fraud scheme would probably not have been discovered without Birkenfeld blowing the whistle on UBS. So why is he the only one going to jail? [...]


Well, what happened was -- you’re 100 percent right. The record shows he went to -- he was a typical whistleblower. When he read a document, that triggered, and he realized what he was doing was illegal -- and even some of it illegal under Swiss law, by the way -- he went to his supervisor. And as he tells it, he almost had a fistfight. I mean, they had an argument. That’s typical. He then went to internal compliance. He went to the lawyers. He wrote emails. He then filed an official whistleblower complaint within UBS, all of which was covered up.

He then travels to America. Big mistake. He went to the Justice Department criminal lawyers who do tax fraud. Those folks looked at him as an easy mark. Here’s a guy walking in the door who is giving you information about a massive tax fraud, voluntarily, without immunity. [...]

[...] And at his own expense -- he’s living in Switzerland -- he [Birkenfeld] voluntarily flies to the United States and meets with these other groups and makes major disclosures, the same disclosures that he made to the Justice Department about UBS, but also disclosures about the clients.

What’s good about the Senate disclosure is they had a court reporter who took it down. No one can deny it. It has the date. It has the statements. So as the Justice Department has attempted to mislead the public about what Mr. Birkenfeld did and when he did it, there’s a transcript that proves Birkenfeld right.

He was a traditional whistleblower. He did what he did to serve the interest. And what’s incredible is that taxpayers, you and I, are saving billions. As Juan correctly pointed out, UBS paid a $780 million fine. That’s the beginning of it. So far, 14,000 tax cheats -- these are millionaires, powerful people who had illegal Swiss accounts -- have all come in and voluntarily disclosed their crimes. Why?  They only have to pay a penalty. They don’t go to jail. And their identities remain secret.

"Why? They only have to pay a penalty. They don’t go to jail. And their identities remain secret."

Very good Questions, Stephen Kohn ... (via Amy Goodman).

Why, Indeed?  I'm sure Bradley Birkenfeld would like to know ...

But WHY is he the only one wondering ... about this very selective application of the Law.

Short answer:  We still live in a world very much designed for two different Clienteles -- the "Haves and the Have-Nots."

Extreme Wealth -- you either have it, or you don't.

And "Having" ... is Priceless.

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Comment Preferences

  •  this post (35+ / 0-)

    is a continuation of my meager attempts to get at the FBAR truth, from yesterday:

    FBAR Avoidance, Amnesty, and the UBS 4000 -- Was Mitt in the Mix?
    by jamess -- Aug 03, 2012

    I did not expect to end up where I did today,

    as I continue to research this important UBS tale.

    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:22:55 AM PDT

    •  you should hook up with (10+ / 0-)

      LaserHass they have good intel that might enlighten both of you if you collaborate.

      Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:42:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  rec'd and tip'd (10+ / 0-)

      I think it likely that the Brad Birkenfeld situation is more complicated.  According to this article by someone who claims she formerly supported him, in depth research has led her to conclude that prison time is something Birkenfeld earned.  This is because he "came clean" about the wrongdoing of others but not his own shady dealings:

      For starters, Birkenfeld has admitted that his motive for ratting on UBS was money. Just months before he went to the authorities with the incriminating information, Congress had changed the law and made it very lucrative for whistle-blowers to come forward.

      And while Birkenfeld was all too ready to inform on UBS and claim his reward, he was none too ready to inform on himself. At Birkenfeld's sentencing on Aug. 21, Justice Department attorney Downing said, "When he came in to the United States government, he came in to be a whistle-blower. He wanted to earn money by disclosing the wrongdoing of others. He refused to disclose his own wrongdoing." That refusal was fatal to the U.S. officials, for it prevented them from making their case against Olenicoff. Downing made this point clear when he told the court that "Mr. Olenicoff would be in jail" if Birkenfeld had told them what he knew about Olenicoff in June 2007 when Birkenfeld approached the U.S. authorities. Instead, Olenicoff is free and, ironically, Birkenfeld is in jail.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:35:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •   thanks for that (9+ / 0-)

        the truth often has may shades of grey.

        that Democracy Now link, paints the canvas this way:

        AMY GOODMAN:

        So why is he the only one going to jail? Prosecutors claim Birkenfeld withheld information on how he had helped his biggest US client, California billionaire Igor Olenicoff, hide hundreds of millions of dollars in assets. Birkenfeld pleaded guilty in 2008 and received a forty-month sentence. His lawyers filed a formal complaint this week with the US Attorney General’s Office of Professional Responsibility, claiming the “main allegations used to secure [Birkenfeld’s] indictment and imprisonment were not based on accurate or truthful information.”

        Stephen Kohn is now Bradley Birkenfeld’s attorney. He’s the executive director of the National Whistleblowers Center. He joins us now from Washington, DC.

        Perhaps Birkenfeld, was only guilty of "taking the fifth" ...

        Perhaps not.

        I wonder how many "millions" he earned for "protecting" his client's investments from public disclosure?

        Maybe we should just "Trust him" ...

        What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
        -- Maslow ...... my list.

        by jamess on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:51:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, it seems to have a variety of "angles" (7+ / 0-)

          I have ambiguous feelings about this myself.  I hope Birkenfeld gets his reward (which according to  the article I mention may be around $70 million).  That would help continue sending signals to other tax cheats.  But Birkenfeld's case has some twists.

          It is also interesting to me that according to Wiki, prosecutors only asked for 30 months, but the judge gave him 40.

          Some seem to portray him doing this solely out of his regard for the public interest.  Others say it was obviously only the money reward and that he admitted as much.

          I also found another article at Forbes about these issues:

          The new willingness of governments to pay big rewards "has changed the game," says Blum, a longtime advisor to Congress and the IRS on the offshore world. "In the Caribbean there are people working in these offshore banks for next to nothing." Now they have a way to get rich.
          Seems like a new era.  The fact that the IRS is going after Swiss and Cayman account info AT ALL is quite a change.  

          Again... Thanks SO much for the diary.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 11:10:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Please continue your investigative series.... (5+ / 0-)

          I watched the interview on Democracy Now (which is about 2/3'd through the link you provided). A stunning performance by Birkenfeld's attorney/national director of

          Hard to believe there are >14K Americans that took the amnesty offer. Can smell a Pulitzer for the right jounalist. Somebody must be hot on the trail of that list of names.
          Good Diary

      •  His case may be murky. . . MITT's ummmmm: (7+ / 0-)

        There is almost an assumption that no whistleblower is, well, clean as a whistle and therefore, they get investigated all too thoroughly.  I blame Congress for not putting in a strong amnesty section for the whistleblowers as they did for the BANKS and INVESTORS -- those criminals had a huge warning and get out of jail card not afforded to most whistleblowers.

        As for MITT, well, Corporations are people my friends and he is so right, especially about all those LLC's that are simply Corps of one person.  If that LLC has all its assets in the Cayman Islands or in Swiss banks, then MITT needs to demonstrate how his "people" tended to be in the middle of all the ugly banking/investment scandals/issues of the last decade.

        NO fucking wonder MITT is shitting himself like Seamus about information regarding his "investments" (crimes?) and would rather protect his ass than be President.  Only question is whether the Repug party figures this out before the convention - - I think they have already thrown this one away and will double down on the Congressional brick wall.  Worked fine for "them" for 4 years.

        "How can the United States be the Greatest Nation ever if it is the only modern nation where citizens hold bake sales to pay for life saving medical care?" Single payer is coming but how many people will die before it becomes the only solution?

        by 4CasandChlo on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:59:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agree completely (5+ / 0-)

          But I think that whistleblowers are also expected to be fully forthcoming about their own role.  According to the article I mention, that is the crux of the issue against Birkenfeld.

          In my heart of hearts, I just KNOW Mitt has been part of the same tax evasion schemes all the others have.  "Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck..."

          How wonderful would it be if it came out completely one month before the election?

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 11:14:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Great Point (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Satya1, jamess, cotterperson, Mayfly

            Duck duck quack quack.

            Everywhere big money has been causing trouble for the last 15 years, MITT has been close by.

            I think your heart and your head are spot on.

            "How can the United States be the Greatest Nation ever if it is the only modern nation where citizens hold bake sales to pay for life saving medical care?" Single payer is coming but how many people will die before it becomes the only solution?

            by 4CasandChlo on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 11:32:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Writer Knows?....NOT (0+ / 0-)

        First of all, the writer of that article, Joanne Weiner, doesn't know Birkenfeld and has never met him.  She also does not know why he was charged by the Bush DOJ.

        Briefly, he was charged because he was a whistleblower and then another reason crept in...his disclosures would have derailed the campaigns of the two leading Republican candidates for President of the United States.

        Birkenfeld also voluntarily approached the U.S. Senate and SEC.  The transcript of his sworn testimony is still in the possession of the Senate.  In that sworn testimony, he identified Olenicoff and Olenicoff's activities.  This was a couple of months before Olenicoff entered a plea in his case.  So the government indisputably already had the information on Olenicoff before Olenicoff ever pled to anything.

        The DOJ in Washington was not even involved in the Olenicoff prosecution.  It was a purely local (albeit federal) prosecution action in California.  This business about Birkenfeld concealing Olenicoff from the government is a bald-faced lie by the Bush DOJ and they know it.

        Downing lied in open court that day and he knows it.  It was subsequently revealed that Downing actually met with Olenicoff one month before Olenicoff's sentencing, no doubt to try to implicate Birkenfeld.  Downing could have appeared at Olenicoff's sentencing hearing to ask for jail time but he did not.  So Olenicoff is not in jail because Downing didn't want to ask for jail time.  Period.

  •  Good (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, David54, Sylv, Mayfly

    Keep up the pressure.

    Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

    by corwin on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:28:54 AM PDT

  •  Blast from the past, (8+ / 0-)

    The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

    by Azazello on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:31:59 AM PDT

  •  Would that Bank Robbers not so Consistantly (12+ / 0-)

    be employed by banks and steal from governments.

  •  I wonder.... (8+ / 0-)

    What impact on the presidential race would there be of President Obama pardons Birkenfeld, and publicly announces, and explains the reasons for, the pardon at a debate?

    •  Obama'd Lose His Donors (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If Obama pardoned Birkenfeld, all the banker donors Obama's spent his first 4 years selling us out to would spend double on Rmoney instead.

      There have been so many ways Obama could have told the country the truth about the criminals who destroyed us. Instead Obama has kept them in business. He's made it perfectly clear he's not stomping that beehive, but rather feeding on the honey.

      Obama's better than Rmoney on our economy (and justice). But that's about as weak a compliment as "better than Bush". Don't hope too much.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:51:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Politics (6+ / 0-)

        is often a game of inches.

        Until that brave new day,

        when it's not

        -- when progress is measured by number of lives imporoved,

        and NOT the number of dollars spent.

        iow,  When "Hidden Costs" finally receive their true accounting.

        I trust Obama to get there, eventually,
        miles more than the Romney, or any of the other Conservative Clowns.

        What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
        -- Maslow ...... my list.

        by jamess on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:03:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Bankers & Politicians have a symbiotic (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess, Chi, cotterperson


        "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General.

        by Mr SeeMore on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:31:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Rmoney gets "bankers'" cash this cycle, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess, sethtriggs, cotterperson, Mayfly

        they have pretty much abandoned Obama.

        From, March 2012:

        Let there be no doubt where Wall Street's political loyalties lie: Of all the money the securities and investment industry has poured into the 2012 presidential contest so far -- to the candidates and the super PACs behind them -- an unambiguous 92 percent has gone to the GOP, according to a new Center for Responsive Politics analysis.
        So they're already giving many times more to Rmoney than to Obama. Birkenfeld has nothing to do with it.

        The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

        by SoCalSal on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 01:06:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not True (0+ / 0-)

          From Bloomberg also in March 2012:

          JPMorgan Employees Join Goldman Sachs Among Top Obama Donors

          Their [JP Morgan and Wells Fargo employees'] support indicates that Wall Street, which gave Obama $16 million for his successful 2008 White House run, is opening its checkbook again for the president. The contributions helped Obama raise $21 million in February, including $6.5 million transferred from a joint fundraising committee with the Democratic National Committee.

          It is true they're giving more to Rmoney:

          Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and a co-founder of the Boston-based private equity firm Bain Capital LLC, has received strong support from Wall Street to fill his campaign coffers. He has received $6 of every $10 contributed to a presidential candidate by securities and investment industry employees and their families, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group that tracks campaign giving.

          Through Jan. 31, they had given $6.6 million to Romney, including $521,180 from Goldman employees and their families, and $2.3 million to Obama.

          But Obama still depends on banker bribes. Especially since they're giving more to Rmoney, that Obama has to keep up with.

          Because Obama chose to appease the bankers instead of protect the 99% of Americans the bankers harm, he's getting actionable bundled banker bribes instead of even more in small contributions from the 99%.

          Birkenfeld of course has something to do with it, though Birkenfeld is just one among many banker reasons.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 08:11:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  well... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erush1345, cotterperson

      1) Not going to happen.
      2) Since Birkenfeld gets out Nov. 29 2012 it would only exonerate him - it wouldn't let Birkenfeld avoid much prison time.
      3) It would hurt Obama politically.  Whether based on facts or fantasy Romney could hurt Obama with that.
      4) There are far more significant facts to the case than are outlined in this diary.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:40:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  wait.... what? (8+ / 0-)

    the whistleblower goes to jail??  I'm suffering from outrage fatigue.

    •  eventually (5+ / 0-)

      the outrage will sink in, nationally

      and result in a "quantum leap" to Action.

      or so the theory goes ...

      What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
      -- Maslow ...... my list.

      by jamess on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:43:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That would be wasted outrage in this case. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess, cotterperson, Mayfly

      Birkenfeld doesn't deserve your outrage on his behalf. Do read this article, birkenfeld: Tax Cheat and UBS Informant Doesn't Deserve Pardon.


      From 2001 to 2006, Birkenfeld was a private banker for UBS, based in Geneva, servicing wealthy American clients of the bank. Among his clients was a 67-year-old California billionaire, Igor Olenicoff, who Birkenfeld helped hide $200 million in assets in phony companies off shore and advised to destroy records from his offshore accounts. Birkenfeld also did other errands for Olenicoff and his other UBS clients, including buying cars and chalets for them, and he was once caught smuggling diamonds in a toothpaste tube. (Birkenfeld told CBS's 60 Minutes that he put them there so he wouldn't lose them.)

      Birkenfeld knew he was aiding and abetting clients to avoid paying taxes to the IRS. He knew the U.S. government was being cheated out of billions of dollars.

      So in April 2007, Birkenfeld had his lawyers contact the Department of Justice. They said their client would provide "substantial and material assistance" to the IRS in exchange for participation "in the newly enacted Taxpayer Whistleblower Reward Statute ... and obtain immunity for his activities undertaken as an employee" of UBS. At that time, his lawyers referred to UBS as "the Vault" and Birkenfeld as "the Salesman." The lawyers further described their client as "not a big fish at the Vault," but as someone who was "ready willing and able" to provide sworn testimony to the government. Birkenfeld indicated that he expected to participate in the IRS Whistleblower Reward program as compensation for the "considerable personal risk" he was facing by exposing "the Vault's operations."

      Birkenfeld's "considerable personal risk" was that his client, Olenicoff, was already under investigation for tax evasion. That investigation would shed light on birkenfeld's role and implicate Birkenfeld as well. So Birkenfeld attempted to avoid jail time and gain considerable wealth from the IRS Whistleblower Reward program.

      The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

      by SoCalSal on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 01:57:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This Article Again??? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wilderness voice

        The prosecutors from the Bush DOJ (many of whom still pollute those hallways over there), love to quote this planted article.

        Tell me, why did the Bush DOJ deliberately avoid arresting the co-workers of Phil Gramm at the Art Basel show in Miami, just 4 weeks before the January 2008 Iowa presidential caucuses?  Take a wild guess!

        Can you say "political corruption"?

        In June, 2007, Birkenfeld told Downing and the other Bush DOJ prosecutors about these private bankers that would be there in Miami...names, cell phone numbers, hotels they would stay at, when they would arrive and that they would have laptops with the client data on hundreds of clients.  Birkenfeld told them that a sting operation, a sweeping simultaneous arrest, would be the best way to openly launch this investigation.  Clearly, that was true, as each of these bankers had 200 to 300 clients each.

        Birkenfeld also told them that all they had to do was interface with Homeland Security to track these bankers as they arrived from Switzerland.  It never happened.  Downing did not want to follow any of Birkenfeld's advice, lest he would give Birkenfeld credibility.  So in his zeal to try to screw over the whistleblower, Downing wound up screwing the United States Treasury, setting back the investigation many months and also losing a golded opportunity to break this investigation wide open (but also do serious harm to John McCain's campaign...we couldn't do, no, no).

        •  This was reported by whom? (0+ / 0-)

          Birkenfeld and his lawyer? Birkenfeld, is that you?

          That's rich, that Birkenfeld knows better than the DOJ how to conduct investigations.

          The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

          by SoCalSal on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 03:50:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Investigation (0+ / 0-)

            OK, which is better to launch the UBS investigation?  Just a John Doe Summons or using BOTH a John Doe Summons AND this sting operation?  The answer is obvious.  It's not "rich".  It's true.

            By the way, every single material fact contained within the John Doe Summons was provided by Birkenfeld as part of his voluntary disclosures.  If the DOJ knows so much, then why didn't they start this investigation before Birkenfeld voluntarily initiated contact with them and handed them the keys to the kingdom?  Because the DOJ had absolutely no clue what was goiung on right under their own noses, for years.

            The DOJ took pains not to follow any of Birkenfeld's advice because that would mean that Birkenfeld would be credited with the information and thereby buttress his IRS whistleblower claims.  The main focus of the DOJ from Day 1 was to try to do this in such a way as to undercut his whistleblower claims.

            When Birkenfeld realized what the DOJ was up to, he then went to the SEC and U.S. Senate to secure the fact that he was the sole driving force behind the DOJ investigation.  Good thing he did it because this got the truth to other branches of the government.

            •  I do not share your high opinion of Birkenfeld, (0+ / 0-)

              or of the wisdom of Birkenfeld's proposed "sting operation". In my opinion, Birkenfeld is a self-serving crook who only saw the light when the DOJ began its investigations into USB, and his opportunity to gain more money through the whistleblower program than he ever would have made otherwise. Birkenfeld is pure sleaze and I hope he doesn't get any money from the whistleblower program.

              The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

              by SoCalSal on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:24:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  "Retroactively Disclosed" = "Confessed" (17+ / 0-)
    Meanwhile, the Romney campaign also retroactively disclosed that the couple had a Swiss account

    "Retroactively disclosed" is defense lawyer BS for "confessed". Romney confessed that they had a Swiss account that they had criminally hidden for years, until he got caught and was forced to confess.

    That's how the paragraph would read if you or I were busted evading taxes, or anyone else in the 99% (if we had $millions in Swiss accounts, which of course we don't). News reports about our "disclosure" would mention our jailtime.

    For King 1% Mitt Rmoney, the paragraph reads "retroactively disclosed", and he walks around free. And reporters parrot his defense lawyer BS instead of calling him a lying crook.

    If he's (shudder) elected, I expect Rmoney to spend his first 100 days officially pardoning himself in a file cabinet of secret Executive Orders.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 09:47:52 AM PDT

    •  Geez, I want to know just how many times... (10+ / 0-)

      the terms, "retroactive" or "retroactively" can be uttered by a presidential campaign before would-be voters finally begin to suspect there's something seriously wrong with the credibility of the candidate.

      I know Romney's constituency comprises of an affiliation of gazillionaires, racists, haters and cretins BUT COME'ON PEOPLE, this is not freakin' rocket science!

      If it walks like a tax cheat and talks like a tax cheat...

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:08:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  tax fraud (13+ / 0-)

    First, the whistleblower went to prison because he lied repeatedly to federal agents and prosecutors.  In his agreement with the government, he promised not to lie.  As he breached the deal, the government did not owe him the time of day, much less immunity.  Secondly, your point about Twit changing the place of the account on his return is pointless.  The point of having a foreign account is to hide it from the IRS, not report it but lie about the source.  I know because I prosecuted tax fraud for the feds for 28 years.

    •  thanks (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psnyder, Chi, cotterperson, Mayfly

      for those insights.

      What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
      -- Maslow ...... my list.

      by jamess on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 10:24:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wrong Again (0+ / 0-)

      Mr. Morgan, you claim that you are a former federal prosecutor.  First, is that a boast or a confession?

      Regardless, as a certified DOJ apologist, you need to resist blurting out the party line.  You were not one of the prosecutors in the room any one of those days in June 2007 at the DOJ when these meetings took place so try reeling yourself in.  

      Here is a quote from the motion to reduce Birkenfeld's sentence, signed by three federal prosecutors from the DOJ.  The motion said that the information that Birkenfeld gave to the prosecutors was "timely, significant, useful, truthful, complete and reliable".

      So, it doesn't really matter how many years you soaked a government job over there at the DOJ.  You're just simply wrong, an admission that comes very grudgingly from those who worked there, which is itself rather telling.  Go ask Senator Ted Stevens, Mr. "Law and Order".

  •  I don't see the problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, sethtriggs, johnny wurster

    Birkenfeld was part of a criminal operation.  His 40 months, which he likely won't serve, represents a substantial discount off what he might have otherwise received.  Sure, if he hadn't ratted out UBS he might not have gone to jail at all, but that's an argument against punishing anyone who admits guilt.

    Mitt Romney '12: Berlusconi without the sex and alcohol!

    by Rich in PA on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 11:09:29 AM PDT

    •  30 months actually served (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess, Karl Rover, sethtriggs, Mayfly

      He was released to a half way house just a few days ago.

      Washington, D.C. August 1, 2012 – Today, Bradley Birkenfeld, the whistleblower who exposed UBS bank’s $20 billion illegal tax fraud scheme, was released from prison to a halfway house.  Mr. Birkenfeld entered Schuylkill County Federal Correctional Institution in Minersville, Pennsylvania on January 8, 2010. He served his full term, less the mandatory good time credits afforded all federal inmates.

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 11:58:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Typical Obama "justice." What a toady. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

    by expatjourno on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 01:14:25 PM PDT

  •  I'm convinced now (6+ / 0-)

    that the reason Mitt isn't releasing pre-2010 returns is because he took amnesty for the secret Swiss account in 2009.

    It's delicious that he's being skewered for not paying taxes for 10 years instead, and he can't prove that charge wrong, because that would mean 'fessing up to being a tax cheater.

  •  Is Romney still a citizen? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mayfly, jamess

    Since Harry Reid's  on the attack, we ought to go fulll-birther on Rmoney, and make him prove he's not one of the thousands who've given up their U.S. citizenship in favor of their Swiss bank accounts.

    Rich Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship rose sevenfold since UBS AG (UBSN) whistle-blower Bradley Birkenfeld triggered a crackdown on tax evasion four years ago.

    About 1,780 expatriates gave up their nationality at U.S. embassies last year, up from 235 in 2008, according to Andy Sundberg, secretary of Geneva’s Overseas American Academy, citing figures from the government’s Federal Register. The embassy in Bern, the Swiss capital, redeployed staff to clear a backlog as Americans queued to relinquish their passports.

    Bloomberg, May 1

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 02:35:55 PM PDT

  •  About that Senate Investigation (0+ / 0-)

    into Tax Havens:

    Tax Haven Bank Secrecy Tricks -- Chart

    • Code Names for Clients
    • Pay Phones, not Business Phones
    • Foreign Area Codes
    • Undeclared Accounts
    • Encrypted Computers
    • Transfer Companies to Cover Tracks
    • Foreign Shell Companies
    • Fake Charitable Trusts
    • Straw Man Settlors
    • Captive Trustees
    • Anonymous Wire Transfers
    • Disguised Business Trips
    • Counter-Surveillance Training
    • Foreign Credit Cards
    • Hold Mail
    • Shred Files

    Prepared by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, July 2008

    Hearing: Tax Haven Banks and U.S. Tax Compliance

    Opening Statement of Senator Carl Levin

    U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations

    Staff Report --   July 17, 2008

    This chart summarizes the Tax Haven Bank Secrecy Tricks we've uncovered during this investigation. Banks using code names for clients to disguise their identities; telling their bankers to use pay phones instead of business phones so authorities cant trace a call back to the bank; giving their bankers encrypted computers when they travel so tax authorities cant read any client information; funnelling money through so-called transfer companies to cover the tracks of the funds and make audits difficult; opening accounts in the names of foreign shell companies to hide the real owners; setting up fake charitable trusts for the same reason; providing bankers with counter-surveillance training the list goes on. These tricks are all about deception, all about making it impossible for the IRS to follow the money, bring tax cheats to justice, and bring back into the U.S. treasury the tens of billions of dollars owed to Uncle Sam. UBS has told the Subcommittee that it is changing its ways. It has banned travel by its Swiss bankers to the United States. It is encouraging U.S. clients to bank with UBS in the United States or at a subsidiary in Switzerland called Swiss Financial Advisors that requires all U.S. clients to disclose their accounts to the IRS. Liechtenstein tells us they are in negotiations with the United States to enter into a tax information exchange agreement and with its European neighbours to expand tax cooperation in connection with an anti-fraud agreement.

    I hope it is true, but count me skeptical for a number of reasons. First, we haven't heard anything from LGT about reforms [a private bank owned by the royal family of Liechtenstein]; it is not even here today, in contrast to UBS. Second, evading U.S. taxes is a billion dollar industry; its gone on for decades; and the profits are huge, both for the tax cheats and for the banks holding their assets. The documents and testimony that we are releasing today disclose a culture of secrecy and deception that we are determined to end, despite its being strongly entrenched.

    Tax evasion eats at the fabric of society, not only by starving health care, education, and other needed government services of resources, but also by undermining trust making honest folks feel like they are being taken advantage of when they pay their fair share.

    The details of their tax evasion scheme are sordid enough. But what Mr. Birkenfeld told the Subcommittee was that what he did as a private banker at UBS was ordinary practice. He told us about the thousands of Swiss accounts at UBS for U.S. clients holding billions in assets, all undeclared. He also described the pressure placed on the Swiss private bankers to bring new money into the bank from the United States, called net new money. His deposition and other documents show that each year, UBS assigns each private banker an annual net new money target. A January 2007 email sent out by Mr. Liechti to the Swiss bankers in the Americas division wished them a happy new year, recounted how, in 2002, they had brought in 4 million Swiss francs per banker, how that number had quadrupled in two years to 17 million Swiss francs per banker in 2006, and then urged them to quadruple their efforts again in 2007 to bring in 60 million Swiss francs per banker in net new money from the United States.

    Mr. Birkenfeld told us that Swiss bankers regularly traveled to the United States to target U.S. citizens for net new money. He told us how these Swiss bankers maintained a low profile, using business cards that did not mention wealth management, sometimes declaring they were in the United States for non-business purposes, and carrying encrypted computers that, allegedly, even U.S. Customs agents couldnt read. A Subcommittee analysis of travel records supplied by Customs corroborate his testimony. The travel records show that about 20 UBS Swiss bankers made about 300 trips to the United States since 2003, often traveling together to UBS-sponsored functions designed to attract wealthy potential clients. These travel records also showed that some UBS private banking officials made regular U.S. visits, including Mr. Liechti who traveled to the United States up to eight times in a year. He described one Swiss banker who saw 30 to 40 clients on each U.S. visit. All this to sell Swiss secrecy on U.S. soil.

    He also described UBS Swiss bankers who presented their clients with securities products and helped execute securities transactions here in the United States, without a broker-dealer license from the Securities and Exchange Commission. In response to Subcommittee inquiries, UBS also admitted that, like LGT, its bankers had set up foreign corporations to disguise the ownership of accounts by U.S. clients.

    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Sat Aug 04, 2012 at 07:01:52 PM PDT

    •  Birkenfeld The Key Source (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And keep in mind that it was Birkenfeld that started the United States Senate Investigation, just as he did with the SEC and the Department of Justice investigations.  Nobody had started any investigations into UBS until Birkenfeld voluntarily initiated contact with these various governmental entities and urged them to open investigations.

      In 2009, Senator Levin wrote a letter praising Birkenfeld for exposing this entire matter and credited him with starting the U. S. Senate investigation (as did the Chief of Enforcement of the SEC, Robert Khuzami).

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