Sunday, September 16, 2012

IRS pays Swiss ex-banker, whistleblower $104 million -

WASHINGTON — the largest amount ever awarded by the agency.

Former Swiss banker Bradley Birkenfeld is credited with exposing widespread tax evasion at Swiss bank UBS AG.

Birkenfeld himself served roughly two and a half years in prison for a fraud conspiracy conviction related to the case, which resulted in a $780million fine against the bank and an unprecedented agreement requiring UBS to turn over thousands of names of suspected American tax dodgers to the IRS.

The IRS, which doesn't usually confirm individual award payments, said Birkenfeld signed a disclosure waiver, allowing the agency to confirm his award.

"The IRS believes that the whistleblower statute provides a valuable tool to combat tax non-compliance, and this award reflects our commitment to the law," IRS spokeswoman Michele Eldridge said in an email.

Birkenfeld has become something of a cause celebre among whistleblowers because of the magnitude of his case and the fact that he was jailed after cooperating with authorities.

In a summary of the award provided by Birkenfeld's lawyers, the IRS said, "The comprehensive information provided by the whistleblower was exceptional in both its breadth and depth."

Federal prosecutors had said Birkenfeld withheld information about his own dealings with a former UBS client who pleaded guilty in 2007 to tax charges.

In 2006, Congress strengthened whistleblower rewards. The law targets high-income tax dodgers.

By Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press Sep 12, 2012

IRS pays Swiss ex-banker, whistleblower $104 million -

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