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December 29, 2014

Offshore Tax Crimes Scorecard: Bankers, Lawyers, Advisers

Filed under: Uncategorized — fayarfa @ 12:03 am

The U.S. Justice Department has a mixed record of success in prosecuting offshore bankers, lawyers and advisers accused of helping U.S. taxpayers cheat on their taxes.

Since 2008, the U.S. has charged 38 people, including bankers from Switzerland’s three top wealth managers—UBS Group AG (UBSG), Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) and Julius Baer Group Ltd. (BAER)

On Nov. 3, federal jurors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, acquitted Raoul Weil, the former head of wealth management for UBS, who was accused of conspiring to help thousands of U.S. clients use Swiss banking secrecy to evade taxes. Weil was the highest-ranking bank executive charged by the U.S.

Of the 38, 25 have yet to answer the charges in court, and most live in Switzerland. Seven pleaded guilty, two were convicted at trial, two await trial and two were acquitted, including Weil. Here are the cases:

Raoul Weil: A former chief executive officer of global wealth management at UBS, he was indicted in November 2008 in Fort Lauderdale. He was declared a fugitive in January 2009 and arrested in October 2013 after checking into a hotel in Bologna, Italy. He waived extradition and stood trial in Fort Lauderdale, where jurors acquitted him on Nov. 3 after 85 minutes of deliberations.

Shokrollah Baravarian: A retired senior vice president at Israeli-based Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd. (MZTF) was acquitted in November in Los Angeles federal court on charges he helped U.S. customers conceal assets from the Internal Revenue Service. Prosecutors claimed Baravarian helped clients who opened accounts in Israel, didn’t declare them to the IRS and accessed money through loans. Six taxpayers testified as government witnesses. Each admitted on cross-examination they didn’t conspire with Baravarian to cheat on their taxes.

David Kalai: The founder and chief executive officer of United Revenue Service Inc., a U.S. tax-preparation service, he was charged in June 2012 with helping clients avoid taxes by setting up undeclared accounts at Luxembourg branches of Bank Leumi Le-Israel BM (LUMI) and Bank Hapoalim BM. (POLI) Federal jurors in Los Angeles convicted him on Dec. 19.

Nadav Kalai: The president of United Revenue Service, he was charged in June 2012 with helping clients avoid taxes by setting up undeclared accounts at Luxembourg branches of Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim. He is the son of David Kalai. Federal jurors in Los Angeles convicted him on Dec. 19.

Bradley Birkenfeld: A former UBS banker, he pleaded guilty to helping wealthy Americans, including billionaire Igor Olenicoff, evade taxes. In 2007, Birkenfeld approached the Justice Department and revealed what a prosecutor later called a “massive tax scheme” at UBS that he laid out to investigators. He was indicted and pleaded guilty in Fort Lauderdale to his role in the conspiracy. In 2009, he got 40 months in prison, 10 months more than prosecutors sought. In September 2012, the IRS awarded him $104 million for blowing the whistle, the largest individual payout in U.S. history. Birkenfeld, who is still on probation, has asked a judge to allow him to move to Europe.

Martin Lack: A former UBS banker, he was indicted in August 2011 on a charge of conspiring to help Americans evade taxes by hiding accounts from 1993 to 2010 in UBS and a Swiss cantonal bank, Basler Kantonalbank. (BSKP) Lack, a Swiss resident and independent investment adviser, was declared a fugitive in September 2011. He surrendered to U.S. authorities in October 2013, pleaded guilty in February 2014 and was sentenced in May 2014 to five years of probation. The judge said he was cooperating with prosecutors.

Christos Bagios: A former banker at UBS and Credit Suisse, he was charged in January 2011 with helping 150 American clients hide as much as $500 million in assets from the IRS when he worked at UBS, where he spent more than 15 years. A Greek citizen who lived in Switzerland, he pleaded guilty in November 2012. Bagios, who spent 37 days in custody, cooperated with prosecutors and was sentenced in Fort Lauderdale to time served.

Renzo Gadola: A UBS banker from 1995 to 2008, he pleaded guilty in December 2010 in Miami. He admitted he conspired to encourage U.S. clients to move undeclared UBS accounts to Basler Kantonalbank. Gadola admitted that he told clients not to join the IRS amnesty program to declare offshore accounts. Gadola, who serviced hundreds of undeclared accounts at UBS, cooperated with prosecutors in building cases against Lack and Bagios, the U.S. said. He was sentenced in November 2011 to five years of probation.

Andreas Bachmann: A former private banker and asset manager, he was one of seven Credit Suisse bankers indicted in 2011 on a charge that they helped U.S. clients hide $4 billion from the IRS. He pleaded guilty in March 2014 in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. He awaits sentencing.

Josef Dorig: An employee of Credit Suisse for 36 years before founding a Swiss trust company, he was indicted in 2011 with the seven Credit Suisse bankers. He pleaded guilty in April 2014 in Alexandria, saying he helped the bank’s U.S. clients cheat the IRS by hiding the owners of accounts through phony trusts and foundations. He awaits sentencing.

Edgar Paltzer: A Swiss lawyer, he pleaded guilty in August 2013 in New York to conspiring for more than a decade to help U.S. clients hide millions of dollars from the IRS. He admitted that from 2000 to 2012, he acted as a financial intermediary. Paltzer is cooperating with U.S. authorities. He awaits sentencing.

Markus Walder: The former head of North American offshore banking, he was one of the seven Credit Suisse bankers indicted. He hasn’t responded in court to the charges.

Susanne Ruegg Meier: A former member of senior management in cross-border banking at Credit Suisse, she was one of the seven bankers indicted. She hasn’t responded in court to the charges.

Marco Adami: Another of the seven Credit Suisse bankers indicted, he is an Italian national and was a member of senior management who catered to high-net-worth clients in North America, prosecutors allege. He hasn’t responded in court to the charges.

Emanuel Agustoni: One of the seven indicted, he is a Swiss citizen who left Credit Suisse and continued the fraud at two other private Swiss banks, prosecutors alleged. He hasn’t responded in court to the charges.

Michele Bergantino: One of the seven bankers indicted, he worked at Credit Suisse from 1983 to 2009, according to prosecutors. A Swiss citizen, he hasn’t responded in court to the charges.

Roger Schaerer: Another of the seven Credit Suisse bankers indicted in July 2011, he is a Swiss and U.S. citizen who worked in New York and was a senior manager. He hasn’t responded in court to the charges.

Gian Gisler: A former UBS banker, he was indicted in August 2011 on a charge of conspiring to help at least 38 U.S. clients use Swiss banks to hide more than $215 million from the IRS. He hasn’t responded to the charge in New York.

Beda Singenberger: A Swiss financial adviser, he was indicted in July 2011 on a charge of conspiring with more than 60 U.S. taxpayers to hide more than $184 million from the IRS in offshore accounts. After the UBS criminal probe became known in 2008, he helped clients hide their accounts in other Swiss banks, prosecutors alleged. A Swiss resident, Singenberger hasn’t responded to the charge in New York.

Hansruedi Schumacher: A former NZB Neue Zuercher Bank AG manager who once ran the cross-border business for UBS, he was indicted in August 2009 in Fort Lauderdale on a charge of helping U.S. citizens evade taxes on UBS and NZB accounts. He was declared a fugitive in December 2009. He came to the U.S. in October, was arrested, and pleaded not guilty. He testified as a government witness at the trial of Raoul Weil.

Matthias Rickenbach: A Zurich lawyer, he was indicted with Schumacher in August 2009 on a charge of helping Americans evade taxes on UBS and NZB accounts. He was declared a fugitive in December 2009.

Mario Staggl: A Liechtenstein investment adviser at New Haven Trust Co., he was indicted with Birkenfeld in April 2008 on a charge of helping wealthy Americans evade taxes. He was declared a fugitive in May 2008.

Felix Mathis: A Swiss lawyer, he was indicted in July 2010 on charges that he helped a Virginia surgeon, Andrew Silva, hide assets from the IRS and smuggle $235,000 into the U.S. He hasn’t responded to the charges in Alexandria.

Daniela Casadei: A former client adviser at Julius Baer, Casadei was indicted in October 2011 on a charge of conspiring with more than 180 U.S. clients and others at the bank to hide at least $600 million from the IRS. A Swiss resident, she hasn’t responded in court in New York.

Fabio Frazzetto: A former client adviser at Julius Baer, he was indicted with Casadei on a charge of conspiring with more than 180 U.S. clients and others at the bank to hide at least $600 million from the IRS. A Swiss resident, he hasn’t responded in court in New York.

Josef Beck: An independent financial adviser, he was indicted in March 2012 on a charge of conspiring to help U.S. clients conceal $129 million from the IRS. A Swiss resident, he hasn’t appeared in court in New York.

Hans Thomann: An independent financial adviser, he was indicted with Beck in March 2012 on a charge of conspiring to help U.S. clients conceal $138 million from the IRS. A Swiss resident, he hasn’t appeared in court in New York.

Michael Berlinka: He was a Wegelin & Co. banker indicted in January 2012 on a charge of conspiring to help U.S. clients hide more than $1.2 billion from the IRS. A Swiss resident, he hasn’t appeared in court in New York.

Urs Frei: He was a Wegelin banker who was indicted in January 2012 on a charge of conspiring to help U.S. clients hide more than $1.2 billion from the IRS. A Swiss resident, he hasn’t appeared in court in New York.

Roger Keller: He was a Wegelin banker who was indicted in January 2012 on a charge of conspiring to help U.S. clients hide more than $1.2 billion from the IRS. A Swiss resident, he hasn’t appeared in court in New York.

Stefan Buck: The head of private banking at Bank Frey & Co., he was indicted with Paltzer and accused of conspiring to help U.S. clients use offshore accounts to hide millions of dollars from the IRS. A Swiss resident, he hasn’t appeared in court in New York. His lawyer has asked the judge for a bail hearing in which Buck wouldn’t have to appear.

Stephan Fellmann: A banker at Zuercher Kantonalbank, he was indicted in December 2012 with Otto Huppi and Christof Reist on a charge of conspiring with U.S. clients and others to hide more than $420 million in offshore accounts from the IRS. Fellmann hasn’t responded in court in New York.

Otto Huppi: A former ZKB banker, he was indicted in December 2012 with Fellmann and Reist on a charge of conspiring with U.S. clients and others to hide more than $420 million in offshore accounts from the IRS. He hasn’t responded in court in New York.

Christof Reist: A former ZKB banker, he was indicted in December 2012 with Fellmann and Huppi on a charge of conspiring with U.S. clients and others to hide more than $420 million in offshore accounts from the IRS. He hasn’t responded in court in New York.

Michael Little: A British lawyer, he was arrested in May 2012 and charged with helping several members of the Seggerman family use a UBS account and other foreign accounts to hide at least $10 million. He faces trial in New York.

David Almog: The head of the New York branch of United Revenue Service, he was charged with David and Nadav Kalai in June 2012 with helping clients avoid taxes by setting up undeclared accounts at Luxembourg and Swiss branches of Israeli banks. He has never appeared in court in Los Angeles and is a fugitive, according to prosecutors.

Martin Dunki: A former client adviser and senior vice president at the Zurich-based Rahn & Bodmer Banquiers, he was indicted in November on a charge of helping U.S. clients hide hundreds of millions of dollars from the IRS. He hasn’t responded in court in New York.

Peter Amrein: A Swiss asset manager, he was indicted in December 2013 on a charge of conspiring with Edgar Paltzer to help Americans hide millions of dollars in offshore accounts from the IRS. He hasn’t responded in court in New York.

By David Voreacos Dec 22, 2014 6:25 AM CT

http://www.bloomberg.com/

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