Someone left this comment regarding the stories about Mr. Birkenfeld, the UBS Whistleblower:
“The following, in my opinion, is the biggest lie ever published with regards to the UBS fiasco:
"Mr. Birkenfeld is an international banker who voluntarily came forward and blew the whistle exposing the biggest international tax fraud scheme in history"
The correct version of this story, and the TRUTH is:
Mr. Birkenfeld is a Swiss banker who illegally operated in the USA without having a license to do so or being in any way registered.
He came forward after being implicated in the course of an IRS investigation of off shore accounts of one of his clients. He then blew the whistle exposing his employers, UBS in the biggest international tax fraud scheme in history. A tax fraud scheme which was created and hatched by Mr. Birkenfeld in collusion with his employers, UBS in an effort to defraud wealthy Amewricans and entice these people to commit tax evasion just so that he and his employers could make a profit.”
Why Acknowledge the Disclosures of a “Guilty” Whistleblower?
I am glad that people are thinking and questioning. Unfortunately many are voicing opinions that are not fully informed about what actually is possible to do and in fact is being done in the banking and financial sector of our economy now. Some of the tools being used by the wealthiest individuals and corporations are well hidden and below the average person’s radar range. And this is a case of where what you don’t know can hurt you.
I agree that Mr. Birkenfeld is by no means an innocent victim. I don't believe anyone is supporting letting him proceed on with impunity, however, (and this is a big however), the types of fraud and manipulation going on in the financial sector right now have become very well camouflaged. With laws in certain nations providing not only complete banking secrecy, but also providing a way to completely hide money, assets, owners, consultants, stockholders, and other beneficiaries who receive benefits, (also in total secrecy), this kind of crime is very difficult to uncover. So difficult, that the only way anyone, including law enforcement, can find a crack to be able to prove existence of the account is to have an insider willing to blow the whistle and produce copies of agreements and other paperwork, that prove the legal existence of those accounts and their true owners.
The laws in nations who offer banking secrecy and/or Hidden Treuhands replete with transparency and secrecy are protected by law in those nations, and unless someone spills the beans, cannot be touched. Therein lies the problem.
So considering that, it seems that the kinds of deals made in other types of cases, in order to gain information, which makes certain crimes prosecutable, should be allowed. It takes an intelligent prosecutor with the ability to think strategically to succeed in this type of case.
As for the whistleblower, in a segment of society where one has to go against powerful people, (dangerous in some cases), and a battalion of lawyers who nurture and protect these secret accounts, whether it was fear or courage that prompted his disclosures, we should be appreciative of that action. By example, if this whistleblower is beat senseless and no recognition of his valuable contribution is given, it will be a cold day in hell before another one will step up to the plate and disclose.
Remember each account agreement is separate and uncovering one does not leave any trail to uncovering others. They are peculiarly insulated from each other, as I understand it. So the larger problem will not be addressed and resolved until more step forward.
Imagine for instance that a politician or appointed federal official, who faced having to disassociate him or herself from their former company and board or officer position, due to conflict of interest concerns, and policies put into place to require politicians and even some federal employees to divest themselves of stocks and other business involvement which may present a conflict of interest. Imagine for a minute that there were a vehicle one could use to hide oneself and other business relationships like being a stockholder, being a board member, being a recipient of payments for whatever service rendered so no one including the federal government oversight could detect and prove you were still a beneficiary of funds from those entities.
You don't have to imagine. This system does exist. It allows monies to be transferred around to various secret accounts, and manipulated to hide the gains, until at such a time as you no longer had the requirements for no conflict of interest types of relationships. It is a win-win for you. You can have the power of a government position, elected or appointed, influence or have direct control over business that benefits your former associated corporations, and still profit from your own minding the bottom line of their government contracts, won or secured with help from you. And because no one can see or even if suspected, prove you have any relationship financial or other wise because you've hidden it so well.
This magic is real and may be accomplished quite handily with one or more Hidden Treuhand accounts in several select countries, backed up by other secret accounts in a few other countries. By the time, later in your life, you really are retired, you have a large and varied nest egg, which may be transferred around and slowly brought out into the open. No one will notice by that time, nor will they probably ask where it came from or how it was derived.
Think about it. If you were Dick Cheney, James Jones, or someone of that ilk with strong ties to companies like Halliburton or Boeing, wouldn't you take advantage of it? (If you didn’t have internal ethics, which would prevent you from taking that step.) How about members of Congress? There is every reason to believe that many people are doing this. It is one reason it is so hard to get reform and a genuine cleaning up of the system.