Monday, January 11, 2010

Crying Foul, Ex-UBS Banker Starts Prison Term

From the Wall Street Journal:

Former UBS AG private banker Bradley Birkenfeld, the key informant in the landmark U.S. case against the Swiss banking giant, reported to a federal prison in Pennsylvania Friday, while his lawyers stepped up their criticism of the U.S. Justice Department for prosecuting him.

Mr. Birkenfeld, speaking by phone while traveling to the Schuylkill County Federal Correctional Institution in Minersville, Pa., said prosecutors and the courts had treated him differently from the kinds of tax cheats he revealed to the government.

"Every single UBS client is pretty much walking away free, either house arrest or probation," said Mr. Birkenfeld, who began serving a 40-month sentence for helping UBS clients evade U.S. taxes. He pleaded guilty in 2008 and was sentenced last August.

Mr. Birkenfeld has spent recent months seeking to have his sentence reduced or postponed. And he has questioned the Justice Department's decision to indict him, given his role in helping U.S. tax authorities reach two major settlements with UBS that poked unprecedented holes in Swiss bank secrecy.

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