Friday, November 27, 2009

Rat Fink Seeks Billions for His Dirty Work

Lynnley Browning at NYT has the story:

Bradley C. Birkenfeld was sentenced to 40 months in prison for helping rich Americans dodge their taxes. Now he is hoping for a bit more — a few billion dollars more.

Mr. Birkenfeld, a former private banker at the Swiss bank UBS, won the enmity of his peers by violating the omerta of Swiss banking: He divulged the tax evasion secrets of UBS, the world’s largest bank by assets, and its well-heeled American clients. As part of a deal with federal prosecutors, he admitted to, among other things, helping to smuggle diamonds in a tube of toothpaste.

Now, as thousands of wealthy Americans seek amnesty for keeping illicit, offshore bank accounts, Mr. Birkenfeld and his lawyers hope to use a new federal whistle-blower law to claim a multibillion-dollar reward from the American government. If they succeed — and legal experts say the odds are pretty good — it would be the largest reward of its kind.

Mr. Birkenfeld, who is to begin his prison term as soon as January, is being represented by the executive director of the National Whistleblowers Center, Stephen M. Kohn. Mr. Kohn successfully represented Linda Tripp, who helped expose the Monica Lewinsky scandal of the Clinton years.

“We are seeking at least several billion dollars,” Mr. Kohn said.

Read the rest of teh story, here.

1 comment: