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The banker who blew the swiss banking secrecy

Before the trial in France of the UBS bank, the man who has helped to bring down the system, tells about it in a book. Extracts. After you have stirred other p

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The banker who blew the swiss banking secrecy

Before the trial in France of the UBS bank, the man who has helped to bring down the system, tells about it in a book. Extracts.

After you have stirred other people's money, including funds that are not declared to tax when he was a banker at UBS, Bradley Birkenfeld himself became a rich man, very rich... His revelations in the United States on the system of fraud and tax evasion put in place, according to him, within the first bank in switzerland allowed him to receive a huge check from the us tax authorities. The equivalent of nearly 80 million euros. Man has, nevertheless, made the prison and, then, opens this Monday, October 8 the trial of the bank in Paris, his book, The banker of Lucifer (editions Max Milo), comes out this Thursday in France.

the cover of The book published by Bradley Birkenfeld to the eve of trial UBS (ed Max Milo)

DR

with the help of many anecdotes and scenes to be both funny and damning, Birkenfeld, who had testified in front of the French judges and who prefers to present to the whistleblower that repented, book a story alert and picturesque, where the megalomania, greed and transgression maintained within the giant swiss bank are crushing against our laws and the public interest. How UBS dragging in golf tournaments, or evenings at the opera to encourage wealthy clients to open accounts in Switzerland. How emissaries of the bank took precautions worthy of the spies under cover to cross the borders without being caught. How the official documents of the bank directed its employees to do exactly the opposite of what they had been hired... Of the money that made heads turn to interrogations from the FBI, from stays in luxury hotels to those in a federal prison: grandeur and decadence of a part of the occult system of finance. That's good that leaves new.

October 2, 2001 Bradley Birkenfeld made his entrance at his new employer, UBS bank in Geneva. There is no plaque at the entrance of this elegant building of 5 floors.

From the outset, I understood that things would be different from what I had known at Credit Suisse, or Barclays ; there, when I was there, the negotiations with the overseas customers were done with aplomb and without that there is nothing to indicate openly that whatever we were doing could be frowned upon elsewhere. People who were at UBS knew that their benefits were raised, or more accurately, hauled out of the muddy waters of the interstices and beyond the tax laws, and they did not pretend to the contrary. There was a need for multiple permissions to get through the front desk (that is to say, the activities that were in the relationship with the client) to go to the second floor, where thirty-bankers, managers of heritage, and their secretaries, were employed in the North American Desk, the desk in North America, an open space resembling a lot to the trading room of State Street. Except that this was not a club of former students of Boston ; the bankers were dressed as the models in GQ, the It american for the men, the offices were large and well arranged, armchairs and sofas, in velvet luxury, and the figures in the equity markets stood along the flat screens as if they were straight out of the Matrix. Bars rolling were trimmed with a high alcohol content so that people remain happy when they were heated to a white telephone lines, and as the Swiss could not obey the word paranoid "smoking Ban", the cigar smoke was curling upwards through conversations polyglot that revolved around VIP guests to gourmet breakfasts and Net New Money [the volume of money back to the bank, thanks to the activities of its employees]. It was impossible to go somewhere next to a computer without passwords at several levels. The place reminded me of a cell spying for the CIA at the time of the cold war. I loved it.

Bradley Birkenfeld flees from the media at his exit of the federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, August 21, 2009

afp.com/Joe Raedle

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The first day of my job, I was handed a list of names of holders of secret accounts that have been assigned to I and provides the service. Some of them, of large oils from the corporate world, made me smile with pleasure. One of them, Abdullah Bin Laden, half-brother of the now infamous Osama, had 14 million dollars on a secret account, but find its trace to discuss its investment would not be easy. He had resided in the Boston area, with other members of the clan OBL. Just after the September 11 attacks, when all commercial flights were grounded in the United States, the Bush administration made them all slip away by private jet. My new clients were going to be very interesting.

A client has several hundreds of thousands of euros to hide in his safe at UBS. It is always the same ceremonial...

It is waited by a sedan, a black Mercedes with tinted windows that takes him in a flash at the Ritz-Carlton hotel de la Paix, where there are fresh flowers and tropical fruits in her dream suite, which overlooks lake Geneva, with a box of swiss chocolates Frigor. I going to take it at 7 o'clock in the evening, expressing my pread great regret on the fact that his wife was not able to come and suggests he buy her a present worthy of the name. First, we have dinner at the Counter, restaurant class, which serves French cuisine stunning. To 9 hours, it has already had a few drinks, I suggested to him, therefore, to go and see the "pretty girls" of the Velvet. It is a cabaret of luxury, high-end, which, coincidentally, has a "dance floor" in an inconspicuous area. (...)

in The morning, when I go to take it, Mr. Client has the air of the proverbial cat that eats the canary. It is in a second state when we drive down to the 16 rue de la Corraterie [the local UBS where works Birkenfeld] in one of my Ferrari, I escort him and his briefcase, making him pass through the entrance hall and a marble floor polished, passing the pillars that look like towers, large windows adorned with wrought iron baluster and security cameras everywhere. We take the elevator to go up to a lovely room with a private reception. A girl redhead entered carrying a silver tray with piles of fresh croissants, fruit, and espresso. Another blonde girl made an appearance, pushing a meter ticket on a rolling cart. She wears a blouse in silk close to the body, a short skirt grey and has long legs with ends at the heels. Mr. Customer opens his briefcase and hands him two stacks generous us $ 100 bills. She smiles and makes his money from the counter of banknotes, as a sniper, machine gunner manicured. Tac-Tac-tac-tac-tac-tac. "It's been 200 000," she said, stacking everything carefully and rolling the money to the exit. And then I tend to Mr. Client a package of forms and contracts that it reads barely, but I make sure that his signature is affixed to the right places.

Then, we go down a long hallway ; it ends with an office that sits on a Persian rug luxury, or a security officer, in suit and tie (a nice suit) smiles and opens the doors of a lift in bright brass, and we descend two flights of stairs to get to the basement. The antechamber which then looks similar to the VIP of Fort Knox, with another Persian rug, leather chairs with chrome, vases Ming, surveillance cameras, two employees, one of the women, who treat the operations behind a counter that happens to us the chest, a massive door closed with a lock timer, and once you get past all of this, four-storey underground safes in polished steel which are chests of deposit. Some of these chests are large enough to accommodate a Monet in her frame, while others are designed only for small precious stones of great value. The annual rent minimum trunk the smallest is 500 swiss francs, but this does not impress Mr. Client who opts for a larger size. He produced his passport and fills out a small white card which bears his / her account number and her code name, chosen at random by the computer. Then he signs the card and receives two keys in silver on the chest. Another guard appears, it means the lock purr, the keys make a noise of metal and we are escorted to the vault room, where Mr. Client, his briefcase and his big boot in polished steel, spend time together, in a room sealed. To what I know, it has gold ingots or bottles of ecstasy to hide in the trunk of his car. But who cares ? He emerges with his briefcase empty. The employees retrieve the key to his safe ; it is the last thing that he needs to have on him. If he wants access, he'll have to come back to show the tip of his nose.

Birkenfeld is going to blow up the banking secrecy in front of the senators so frightened

The first session before the Senate lasted nine hours, with a half-hour for lunch. At the end of the first hour, they had the eyebrows arched and his eyes bulging. These guys were experts in tax law working for the State, and they knew that they had been scammed for years, but they had no idea of the method used. They looked at me as if they had been presidents of a bank of blood of which we would be drained of the precious liquid for decades, and here I was trying to tell them the true story of Dracula.

Some have claimed that Bradley Birkenfeld did not ultimately as much as this, and that even without my warning, operation secrecy of swiss banks would have collapsed of itself. Well Bob Roach and the Senate would not agree with this thesis. They were terribly attentive and I would advise you to be too, because this passage is the crux of all my history, when I whistled the alarm to the top of his lungs.

now, I'll tell you what I told them. Read carefully to be sure that it is by no means an attempt to substantiate the rumor with sensational stories. I told them all I knew, passing through all the mud that I had difficulty crossing for years. I told them the truth, piece by piece, while they would hear me as if I was in the process of stripping a hippopotamus on their table in mahogany-impeccable and brilliant. My name is cited many times in the reports of the u.s. Senate on 17 and 25 July 2008. I am also recognized as the one who has delivered to the sub-committee Levin of the Senate of countless documents and internal policies of UBS.

first of All, I explained to them what the bankers UBS were doing, how they were doing and how long they concealed. Then, I described the physical sites, and operations of all the agencies involved to UBS within its activitiestee private bank, Geneva, Lugano and Zurich. Then, I delivered a long paper as the arm with the names of all the private bankers from UBS - full names, telephone numbers, e-mails, codes for UBS internal and all of the cities where they had worked. Then, for the grand finale of this fireworks display, I delivered the names of all the executives of UBS involved in activities in the u.s. offshore, with the help of a flow chart of the functions in the UBS organization. I also did the link with the offices and staff of UBS in the United States, which helped to facilitate and perpetuate this massive fraud that flouait the american State.

"I suggest, I say, no, in fact, I insist that the ministry of justice, the IRS and the SEC compare the completeness of these lists of phone with those of internal Security." I did the same suggestions as those I had proposed to the ministry of Justice.

"For what reason, mr. Birkenfeld ? asked Bob Roach.

-- Because the passports of all the private bankers from UBS have been scanned during previous visits to the United States. You will see great matches."

the members of The sub-committee took the intrigued looks and griffonnaient notes. The court reporter continued to type.

"But let's talk about a few of the assets," I said, flipping through papers. "The total number of u.s. accounts opened at UBS in Switzerland and that UBS maintains in Switzerland, is ten-nine-thousand."

You could hear a pin drop in the room.

"And, continued I, the total assets appearing on these accounts, acquired and invested by UBS in Switzerland, is 20 billion dollars."

All eyes were that clignaient. One of the members of the committee who wore glasses, took them off and wiped them away, in a gesture almost comical, as if this would allow him to better hear me.

To escape a ban in the u.s., UBS agrees to reveal names of U.s. citizens who have evaded taxes with it, and pay a fine of $ 780 million.

On April 30, 2009, in front of a district court in Florida, UBS finally answered to the procedure, "John Doe" and revealed the names of four thousand five hundred American holders of secret accounts. That is to say four thousand five hundred ten-nine thousand account holders, I'll let you do the calculation. The list was very selective, she did not mention any important personality. It was tiny funds in trust, doctors, small business owners, and millionaires enriched by their own means. No politician, no human power, no donor campaign, any sub-contractor of the defense, no lobbyist. Of the lambs sacrificed. A whitening and deal hyperastucieux both for UBS as for the holders of the accounts. Their name would remain anonymous on the condition that they agree to participate in the program to confess to the IRS [the us tax authorities], to repatriate their funds and their securities and to pay penalties and fines to the IRS. The assets recovered amounted to $ 12 billion, and dust, american money back in american banks.

In all modesty, it is I, who return this money. Nothing, America. Delighted to be useful.

But UBS had already paid its $ 780 million penalty. They could not be judged again, and their sentence could not be recalculated. The double punishment, you know. The secret agreement of Hillary Clinton and Micheline Calmy-Rey [swiss foreign minister between 2003 and 2011] gave good results for all concerned parties, and now, everything was packaged as a gift with a little more. UBS had to organize a party in Zurich. "It only pays once."

Read our complete file

VIDEO. Tax fraud : 9 billion euros recovered by the State through controls in 2019, France is strengthening its arsenal against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, The small German traders are struggling against the bills

The banker of Lucifer, by Bradley Birkenfeld, editions Max Milo, released on October 4, 2018.

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