Senate Investigations Committee To Question DOJ And Swiss Officials On Illegal Offshore Banking

NWC calls for full and complete investigation into wrongdoing and full protection for whistleblowers

Washington, D.C. February 25, 2014. The Permanent Subcommittee On Investigations will hold a hearing on “Offshore Tax Evasion” on Wednesday, February 26, 2014, at 9:30AM, in Room G-50 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. More information can be found on the Subcommittee’s website.

The hearing will continue the Subcommittee’s examination of tax haven bank facilitation of U.S. tax evasion, focusing on the status of efforts to hold Swiss banks and their U.S. clients accountable for unpaid taxes on billions of dollars in hidden assets. Witnesses will include representatives from a Swiss bank and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Today the National Whistleblower Center released a letter to the members of the Subcommittee requesting that they ask specific questions to the DOJ and Swiss banking officials to ensure that those responsible for the illegal off shore activities, which have cost the U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars, are held accountable.

The NWC also requested the DOJ, on the recorded, affirm it’s commitment to the protection of whistleblowers and to ensure those give information on Swiss banking do not suffer retaliation either in the U.S. or Switzerland.

“DOJ needs to dance with the one that brought them – and in the case of offshore banking its whistleblowers that brought DOJ to the Zurich tax-cheat hoedown,” said Dean Zerbe, Special Counsel for the National Whistleblower Center. “Unfortunately, too often it appears the federal government isn’t taking full advantage of the information provided by whistleblowers. In addition, the administration is proposing regulations to the IRS whistleblower law that go against Congressional intent and will discourage new whistleblowers from coming forward. The Swiss bankers and the tax cheats are going to be the winners if these Treasury regulations are made final,” Zerbe added

“Whistleblowers have provided the DOJ a roadmap to offshore banking. It is imperative that DOJ squeeze every drop of information from whistleblowers so that they get all the billions of tax dollars that are due and owing. Just as important, the DOJ and the federal government need to do everything in their power to ensure the protection of whistleblowers. Protecting and encouraging whistleblowers is the key to success today and tomorrow for the federal government going after illegal offshore accounts,” said Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center.

Both Mr. Zerbe and Mr. Kohn successfully represented Bradley Birkenfeld before the IRS, and were able to ensure that he obtained his whistleblower reward, despite the mis-steps by DOJ.

See a copy of the NWC’s letter to the Subcommittee here.

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