UBS Tax Fraud Kingpin and the UBS Politically Exposed People Program

Raoul Weil is a former head of global wealth management at UBS Photo: EPAOn January 7, 2014 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, UBS Tax Fraud Kingpin Raoul Weil pled not guilty to the federal grand jury indictment alleging that, as the head of UBS’s global wealth management business, he conspired to hide the assets of thousands of wealthy United States clients worth $20 billion from the IRS. UBS bankers’ sales pitch to the wealthy U.S. clients included assurances that UBS had better lobbying possibilities in the United States than any other foreign bank, that UBS would not be pressured by United States authorities to disclose the clients' identities, and that since at least 1939, UBS had been successful in concealing account holder identities from United States authorities.

Former UBS banker Raoul Weil in a booking photo after his arrival at the Broward Sheriff's OfficeApproximately 17,000 wealthy U.S. clients concealed their identities and the existence of their offshore bank accounts from the IRS. UBS classified some of these tax evaders as “Politically Exposed People” (aka “PEP”), so UBS operated a PEP program “specially designed to manage illegal accounts held by politicians and other leaders who were politically vulnerable,” as reported by the National Whistleblowers Center. Attorney Steven Kohn, (one of the attorneys for Bradley Birkenfeld who secured the largest individual IRS award in history, $104 million, for blowing the whistle on UBS and Raoul Weil) expressed the following:

We are extremely concerned that the Justice Department will make a sweetheart deal with Weil that will cost the taxpayers billions of dollars….Weil has information that would be extremely embarrassing to wealthy and powerful people in the United States and in other countries….Weil knows where all the skeletons are buried, and the Justice Department must work closely with the IRS and the Department of State to make sure that every person guilty of tax evasion in the UBS America’s program are identified and prosecuted.  We will be carefully monitoring this case to make sure that the American people are fully protected from another sweetheart deal.

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