The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy
Bradley C. Birkenfeld
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As a private banker working for the largest bank in the worl, UBS, Bradley Birkenfeld was an expert in Switzerland’s shell-game of offshore companies and secret numbered accounts. He wined and dined ultrawealthy 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.
The Department of Justice scorned Birkenfeld’s unprecedented whistle-blowing and attempted to silence him with a conspiracy charge. Yet Birkenfeld would not be intimidated. He took his secrets to the US Senate, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Internal Revenue Service, where he prevailed.
His bombshell revelations helped the US Treasury recover over $15 billion (and counting) in back taxes, fines, and penalties from American tax cheats. But Birkenfeld was shocked to discover that at the same time he was cooperating with the US Government, the Department of Justice was still doggedly pursuing him. He was arrested and served thirty months in federal prison. When he emerged, the Internal Revenue Service gave him a whistle-blower award for $104 million, the largest such reward in history.
A page-turning real-life thriller, Lucifer’s Banker is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the secret Swiss high-net worth banking industry and a harrowing account of our government’s justice system. Readers will follow Birkenfeld and share his outrage with the incompetence and possible corruption at the Department of Justice, and they will cheer him on as he “hammers” one of the most well-known and powerful banks in the world.
When you deal with the devil
This is the story of a petulant spoiled millionaire who, while being complicit in one of the worlds greatest financial crimes, expects he should have received a medal for finally doing the proper thing.
Brad Birkenfeld led a dream lifestyle reaping huge commissions, while making promises of huge tax savings to his clients, knowing full well he was violating US tax laws. It was only after he discovered his employer was covering the corporation at the possible sacrifice of their highly compensated employees, that Birkenfeld stole the names of the banks customers (many of whom were his former clients) and turned them in to the US DOJ. It is the story of massive greed and revenge, where the lead character (who lacks same) ends up in jail and upon his release is handed a check for over $100 million, from the same government he formerly helped his clients cheat.
This is a current day Greek tragedy showing the dirty underbelly of one of the worlds largest banks, it’s key executives lack of moral character, and the US government’s naivety and dirty dealing.
You might even feel at the end of this story that crime does pay.
The main character expects the reader to feel sorry for him and see he is some kind of current philanthropist; but, then we would have to be as foolish as his clients were to ever trust him.
Perhaps, if he was ever contrite, he should take the money from his settlement and at the least pay back the clients for the commissions he was only to happy to accept while perpetrating his fraud.
It is a fascinating tale; but, at the end you ask yourself who was worse?