Just how bad is the ongoing fraud in the banking system? Get ready for a mind-bowing expose by a former insider at UBS.
Brad Birkenfield, author of Lucifer’s Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy, recounts the efforts he uncovered by his employer to help its clients cheat the US government out of tens of $billions in taxes.
But despite his working with the government closely to expose the gigantic conspiracy between US-based tax cheats and the giant Swiss bank, UBS, the so-called Justice Department went after Mr. Birkenfeld for abetting tax evasion by one of his clients. After spending thirty months in Federal prison, he was released and three weeks later, received a whistle-blower check for $104 million, the largest such check ever from the IRS Whistle-blower Office.
Once again, 300,000,000 Americans-plus got screwed by the corrupt Department of Justice. They’re not about justice, they’re about protecting themselves, trying to take credit, and making everyone else listen to what they say the story is.
We remember the financial crisis of 2008. It was devastating and so many people lost their jobs, lost their homes and so forth. In the entire financial crisis, there was not one banker to go to jail. The only banker to go to jail was the UBS whistleblower who exposed the largest and longest running tax fraud in the world.
Here’s the problem with the system. When you fine UBS you must realize UBS is a Swiss bank, so that means they write off the fine on their taxes. So then, that means the Swiss taxpayers carry the burden. That’s the first thing.
The second thing is go look at the millions and millions of dollars in legal fees spent to defend their conduct. The UBS shareholders pick up that tab.
So you have UBS shareholders and Swiss citizens picking up the tab for bankers who just keep doing their business, and walk away untouched. How is this possible?
And third, the US government has set an incredibly bad precedent and zero deterrence. Because what they’re saying is, “Oh, if you get caught again, you just write a check. Yes, you might have to add $5 million or $10 million to that check, but just keep doing the business you’re doing.”
And the pathetic prosecutors at the Department of Justice say, “Oh, see? We’ve got a check and we can put it on our resume saying, ‘We got $200 million from this bank for doing illegal conduct.’”
Yeah, but you screwed the American people. It’s outrageous.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris’ interview with Brad Birkenfeld (45m:31s).
Chris Martenson: Welcome to this Peak Prosperity podcast. It is March 29, 2017 and I’m Chris Martenson, your host. Today, we’re going to be talking with Brad Birkenfeld, author of Lucifer’s Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy. It’s a story of intrigue that will both illuminate what’s really going on and almost certainly fan the flames of injustice you may be carrying.
From his book’s description on Amazon, we learn that as a private banker working for the largest bank in the world – UBS – Bradley was an expert in the shell game of offshore companies and secret accounts that dominate the world of the ultra-wealthy. He wined and dined those clients whose millions of dollars were hidden away from business partners, spouses, and tax authorities. As his client list grew, Birkenfeld lived a life of money, fast cars, and beautiful women. But when he discovered that UBS was planning to betray him, he blew the whistle to the US government.
Now, despite working with the government closely to expose a gigantic conspiracy between US-based tax cheats and the giant Swiss bank, UBS, the so-called Justice Department went after Mr. Birkenfeld for abetting tax evasion by one of his clients. After spending thirty months in Federal prison, he was released and three weeks later, received a whistle blower check for $104,000,000, the largest such check ever from the IRS Whistleblower Office.
Welcome, Brad. It is a real pleasure having you on the program.
Brad Birkenfeld: Well, thank you so much, Chris, for having me on here and I’m delighted to educate and inform your audience so that they get a better idea of exactly what went on and how the American people got screwed by their government.
Chris Martenson: Well, you put all of that in the past tense, so let’s go into the story and see if we can have confidence that that is all in the past or not. But what a story. Let’s start at the beginning. How long were you working at UBS and how did you get there in the first place?
Brad Birkenfeld: Well, I left the United States where I worked in Boston for a large institutional investment management firm called State Street Global Advisors. I was a currency trader there for several years and actually, I witnessed illegal conduct there, which I outline in my book, Lucifer’s Banker. And I went to the FBI in Boston at the time, which was 1994. This is the same FBI office, by the way, Chris, that was coddling the mobster Whitey Bulger. So you can imagine that FBI office was tainted and corrupt and really, nothing happened. So, that’s where the story starts.
So, I went over to Switzerland to get my MBA in International Finance. And when I did that, I then moved from investment banking into private banking, which Switzerland is known for. And I was hired by Credit Suisse in Geneva and I started working there. And then, after a few years, my boss left to go to Singapore and I went with my next boss to Barclay’s Bank in Geneva and worked there for about four years from 1998 to around, oh, let’s say 2001.
Then, I was recruited from Barclay’s to UBS by a headhunting firm in London and I started working as the Head of Business Development for North America out of Geneva, Switzerland for UBS.
Chris Martenson: Alright, so you have a lot of experience in banking and finance and working in the depths of what we would call big banking. So let’s turn to the story itself that’s turned into what I think is – honestly, this is probably one of the best corporate crime books ever written. It’s just a fantastic story.
So let’s get into the story itself. As I put in the intro, there was some concern on your part that maybe UBS was going to be seeking fall guys or gals for their activities. Bring us into this case. What was happening?
Brad Birkenfeld: Well, really what happened here – and your audience, it is a complicated sort of web of information that’s important to understand the background so you get a feel for it and just don’t