Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Very Clear Message

From Democracy Now:

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. 

Why is Birkenfeld going to prison? He pled guilty after the Justice Department charged him with failing to disclose a relationship with a billionaire banker. However, Swiss law forbade him from disclosing this information without a subpoena. He asked the Justice Department for a subpoena, but they refused to give it to him. And then they charged him for withholding information about crimes, even though he had voluntarily come forward and tried to give Justice that very information!

What's worse is that while he is getting 40 months in prison, the people who committed the actual crimes which Birkenfeld tried to report got nothing!

This process was started by the Bush Justice Department, but was continued by the Obama DOJ. It is designed to send a very clear message: The people who steal from the average taxpayers by cheating on billions of dollars of taxes are friends of the administration, and you fuck with them at your own peril.

Read the whole thing here. It will make your blood boil.

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