Washington, D.C. April 14, 2010. Former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld , who is currently serving a 40-month sentence for one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States at Schuylkill County federal prison, will file a formal request for clemency to President Barack Obama on Tax Day, April 15, 2010.
Mr. Birkenfeld is the most important tax whistleblower in U.S. history, and is credited with being the first international banker to shatter Switzerland’s historic bank secrecy laws. His allegations have directly resulted in billions of dollars in savings to the U.S. taxpayers. Before his imprisonment, Mr. Birkenfeld’s case was highlighted on 60 minutes , and he was named Tax Notes “Person of the Year. ”
During his sentencing proceeding, the Department of Justice admitted that “but for Mr. Birkenfeld” the illegal $20 billion tax evasion “scheme” by the Swiss banking giant UBS “would not have been discovered by the U.S. government.” As a result of Mr. Birkenfeld’s unprecedented and voluntary disclosures, the U.S. government stands to recover an estimated $3 to $5 billion in immediate tax recoveries. Additionally, UBS was forced to agree to pay a $780 million fine to the United States and the IRS created an amnesty program under which 14,700 Americans came forward to report illegal offshore bank accounts.
Mr. Birkenfeld stated the following in his petition for commutation:
“[Birkenfeld] made every effort to come to the United States on numerous occasions, at his own expense and risk to his life, to meet with the DOJ, IRS, SEC and U.S. Senate prior to his indictment by the DOJ. He also came forth with hundreds of internal documents recording the illegal actions of UBS and U.S. taxpayers and testified about his involvement with Mr. Olenicoff before Olenicoff was indicted and was sentenced. As the Justice Department rightfully stated in formal court filings: ‘Birkenfeld has provided substantial assistance in the investigation and prosecution of others who have committed offenses. This substantial assistance has been timely, significant, useful, truthful, complete and reliable.‘” Attachment 11, Motion for Sentence Reduction filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (No. 08-60099)(docketed August 18, 2009), page 4. DOJ filing linked here.
Stephen Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center and attorney for Mr. Birkenfeld said, “On Tax Day, it is absolutely critical that President Obama send a message that whistleblowers are welcome in the United States. He can send this message by exercising his constitutional authority and granting Bradley Birkenfeld his freedom.”
In support of the clemency petition, the National Whistleblowers Center is organizing a worldwide letter writing campaign. A copy of this international appeal letter is linked here .
The official clemency petition will be filed with the President of the United States and the Office of the Pardon Attorney on April 15, and will be made available online.
Please contact Lindsey Williams at 202-342-1903 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an interview with Mr. Birkenfeld’s attorneys, Dean Zerbe or Stephen M. Kohn.
Photo of Bradley Birkenfeld, courtesy of the National Whistleblowers Center