Friday, February 5, 2010

Sic Semper Whistleblower

"Former UBS AG private banker Bradley Birkenfeld, the key informant in the landmark US case against the Swiss banking giant, reported to a federal prison in Pennsylvania on Friday, while his lawyers stepped up their criticism of the US Justice Department for prosecuting him. ... 'Every single UBS client is pretty much walking away free, either house arrest or probation,' said Mr. Birkenfled, who began serving a 40-month sentence for helping UBS clioents evade US taxes. He pleaded guility in 2008 and was sentenced last August. ... 'This decision is not only grossly unfair and personally harmful to Mr. Birkefeld, it will also have a radical chilling effect on the willingness of other bankers to step forward and expose fraud,' Mr. [Stephen] Kohn said. ... Prosecutors have conceded that they had no case against UBS without Mr. Birkenfeld's cooperation, but they said they sought jail time for the banker because he wasn't forthcoming about his own role in the scheme, an allegation that Mr. Birkenfeld denies", my emphasis, Brent Kendall & Aaron Dale at the WSJ, 9 January 2010, link:

"A former banker who provided key assistance in the US tax evasion probe of Swiss banking giant UBS reported to prison Friday and said his co-operation should have earned him the federal government's gratitude, not time behind bars. ... His sentence has drawn criticism from whistle-blower advocates because of Birkenfeld's importance in exposing tax evasion at UBS", Michael Rubinkam at the Houston Chronicle, 9 January 2010, link:

What nonsense. Igor Olenicoff (IO), my 20 May 2008 post: didn't go to prison. IO paid a $3,500 fine. How much did IO pay DOJ employees above and beyond the $3.500? Don't think that. Don't you know how upstanding most AUSAs are? They could leave the DOJ and join say Fredde or Fannie as general counsel. That's how upstanding. What's going on here? The DOJ just told would-be whistleblowers at Citigroup and Vampire Squid, AIG, etc., "shut up". Again I note, the DOJ couldn't have built the case without an insider. "Radical chilling effect", as Yves Smith says, "feature or bug"?

Does anyone remember the FBI's Richard Jewell fiasco?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If the government thinks that shielding those who created the financial collapse (Goldman Sachs etc) will keep the path smooth going forward they might want to rethink that.

The people know that there were grave crimes in the crisis and expect some trials.

Cuomo has the right idea.

The people are paying the cost of bailing out the banking system they want some justice.

Real justice.