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Newsflash: UBS executive Weil charged in tax evasion scheme


UBS executive Raoul Weil was indicted by a federal grand jury on November 6 for conspiring to defraud the U.S. from 2002 to 2007, earning $200 million in annual revenue for the bank while helping thousands of wealthy Americans evade an estimated $300 million a year in US taxes by hiding their assets from the Internal Revenue Service. Weil faces up to five years and $250,000 in fines--a piddling sanction for such a serious allegation, especially since the Swiss do not tend to extradite their citizens to face criminal charges abroad. The case is U.S. v. Weil, 08-60322, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The Department of Justice press release is available here, and indictment is available on BNA at this link.

This is not a case of a bank inadvertently assisting with tax evasion. The Times article (see below) notes that the Times reviewed letters making it clear that senior executives knew at least three years ago about the problem. Furthermore, the bank apparently actively marketed its comparative advantages in tax evasion services, claiming "that UBS had 'better lobbying possibilities in the United States' and 'would not be pressured' to disclose clients' identities."

For reporting, see:

Ryan Donmoyer and Carlyn Kolker, UBS Executive Weil Charged in U.S. Tax Conspiracy, Bloomberg.com, Nov. 12, 2008.

Martha Brannigan, Fort Lauderdale Jury Indicts UBS Official in Tax Scheme, Miami Herald, Nov. 12, 2008

Curt Anderson (AP), Exec with Swiss Bank UBS Indicted in Tax Probe, KansasCity Star, Nov 12, 2008

Jason Ryan, UBS Exec indicated in Tax Evasion Probe, ABC News, Nov. 12, 2008

Lynn Brownley, Swiss Bank Executive Indicted in US Inquiry, NY Times, Nov. 12, 2008

Capt. Steve Moore
Slamdance Charters
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Wow, just like Charlie Rangel!




Yes, but Charlie had an excuse... or two...


"While over the years I delegated to my staff the completion of my annual House financial disclosure statements, I had the ultimate responsibility."


This kind of linguistic deviance, in which one seemingly takes responsibility while in fact deflecting blame elsewhere, is fast becoming an art form with Rangel. It's probably best summed up by two lines from a news conference he held last Wednesday to deflate the issue: "I sincerely regret and take personal responsibility for these errors," he said. And then, "I personally feel that I have done nothing morally wrong."

For those keeping track, here's a short list of excuses offered by Rangel and his superlawyer, Lanny Davis, in which they blame the top tax-writer's ignorance of Tax 101; Rangel's wife; the resort's management; and the people of the Dominican Republic:

  • "Mr. Davis said the congressman did not realize he had to declare the money as income, and was unaware of the semiannual payments from the resort because his wife, Alma, handled the family finances and conferred with their accountant, John Viardi, on tax matters." (New York Times, September 5)
  • "While I now know is [sic] although I had not personally received proceeds in cash, the fact that [sic] any reduction of the mortgage actually counted as income and should have been reported as such." (Rangel news conference, September 10)
  • "The company's failure to provide timely and regular statement [sic] does not excuse any failure to be more diligently pursued [sic] the actual terms of the arrangement and respond appropriately." (Rangel news conference, September 10)
  • "But I want to thank my friend and lawyer Lanny Davis for putting together a team that has been able to do what I have not been able to do in 20 years, and that is to break through the cultural and language barrier in getting the owners to share with me the method in which this mortgage would be reduced and ultimately eliminated." (Rangel news conference, September 10)
  • "Every time I thought I was getting through, they started talking Spanish." (Rangel news conference, September 10)
  • "While over the years I delegated to my staff the completion of my annual House financial disclosure statements, I had the ultimate responsibility." (AP, September 15)
All Classic Rangel. kooky.gif



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