Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC), spoke today with Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now about the forty-month sentence handed down to the UBS whistleblower, Bradley Birkenfeld. turned over the banking information that has permitted this unprecedented investigation. Kohn praised Birkenfeld for turning over information that exposed billions of dollars in tax evasion by UBS and its wealthy clients. "It was his information that entitled the government to collect the $700 billion-plus, his information that has led to this deal to turn over four or five thousand names," Kohn said. "instead of protecting him and using him as the resource, they indicted him and are sending him to prison."
This is the first major tax whistleblower since Congress enacted a law encouraging people just like Bradley to step forward with information. I think it’s new territory. And I think they don’t understand the pricelessness of getting someone like Bradley in that inside position. Face it, you’re not in those boardrooms if you’re a boy scout. But the point of the law is to get the insider to come out with the information. Without that, you’ll never have a case. But by putting the insider, not inside the Justice Department’s criminal investigatory task force, putting him in jail, serves no purpose. It undermines public policy.
Goodman and Gonzalez also interviewed journalist Sharona Coutts of ProPublica. Democracy Now’s web page provides a transcript and the audio of this interview.