Multinationals Face Tax Fraud, Money Laundering Investigation
Luxembourg, Austria, The Swiss All Fall in Line With OECD Standards on Tax Evasion
Naughty naughty... Michelin, Adidas and French oil company, Total are suspected of making use of Liechtenstein's noted tax haven status. French authorities are expected to commence a probe into these matters in the coming weeks, spinning out of their ongoing investigation into 60 other some-odd firms.
All three firms have previously denied having accounts with LGT, the Liechtenstein-based bank that has faced intense scrutiny since former employee, Heinrich Keiber turned whistleblower and spread the bank's business across law enforcement agencies of most of the world's developed countries.More on the pending investigation right here.
And check out this piece from The Guardian
on the changing regulatory scene in Liechtenstein.
Labels: Adidas, Heinrich Kieber, Michelin, money laundering, tax evasion, Total
Some Folks Just Don't Want Their Bank Records Released to Uncle Sam
Perhaps a response to being on the OECD's draft blacklist
of uncooperative tax havens? That is, after the Swiss got through whinging
about being on the list in the first place.
None of these countries are quite prepared to rat on their own population
, but foreigners should no longer count on the same discretion.
For its part the OECD doesn't plan on changing the makeup of their naughty
list prior to the G20, no matter what kind of pledges they receive - I'm looking at you, Monaco
As the G20 meeting gets closer (early April) they'll be plenty more pressure to go around and other traditional tax havens may also fall in line.
But should they?Some (ok, one guy from the Cato institute) says no.
Labels: tax evasion, tax havens
UBS On the Clock to Release Names, Lots and Lots of Names
And they're willing to sue their bank
(UBS) to prevent it. Given that the case was filed in Zurich disclosing the names of the plaintiffs would be a criminal offense. Man, rich people know all the angles.
How will this effect UBS's planned disclosures to the U.S. Justice Department of 50,000+ potential high-dollar tax cheats? We shall see...
Labels: tax evasion, tax havens, tax shelters, UBS
Settlement Talks Afoot for UBS
It seems any prelude to a settlement will come with massive disclosures
on the part of embattled bank, UBS. In addition to more than a billion dollars in financial penalties, UBS will be obligated to fork over "scores" of names of those the bank helped dodge the taxman via it's cross border services.
This would be in addition to the 300 or so names
that have already been confirmed for authorities and against whom individual tax cases are expected to be filed in short order. As per yesterday's post, some sort of very expensive settlement / deferred prospecution deal is expected for UBS - so long as the play ball. Not good news to their loyal, if ethically challenged, customers.
Labels: tax evasion, UBS
Raul Weil Still a Fugitive
Estimates of the amount of money UBS helped to hide from the U.S taxman keeps going up and as investigators follow the money, the breadth of UBS's business they plan to examine has also widens. Given this potential black hole of doom for the bank, the always expected settlement talks are apparently well underway between UBS and the Justice department. No one is commenting on the record thus far, but a $1.2 billion settlement figure
has been tossed around as just the thing to head off a potentially ugly felony indictment.
Labels: Raoul Weil, tax evasion, UBS
UBS to Divest Itself of Secret, Tax Dodging Accounts
In case you were wondering...
Meanwhile, legal woes for UBS keep getting deeper.
Labels: Fraud, Igor Olenicoff, Raoul Weil, tax evasion, UBS
Liechtenstein to Loosen Up on Bank Secrecy (Sort Of)
They'll be mailing some very large checks out in the near future, which could seriously complicate tax time for a number of the nation's well-to-do. For tips on how to handle it gracefully, see the New York Times.
Labels: tax evasion, UBS
CEO Suicide at Julius Baer?
Following the Heinrich Kieber
-induced international tax evasion scandal that lead international regulators to its door, Liechtenstein, the famous European tax haven is apparently planning on softening its bank secrecy laws.
As per a new agreement, set to be signed next week with American regulators, Liechtenstein will begin turning over banking records for individuals currently under investigation or currently being prosecuted for tax evasion in the U.S.
The key bit there is the part about being currently under investigation.
Beyond that narrow window, Liechtenstein is keeping the shades drawn tight, leading some to suggest that the nation's newly touted cooperation is little more than an attempt to change the subject
Labels: Heinrich Kieber, Liechtenstein, tax evasion
Menachem Lifshitz Comes Clean on Tax Bill
It has been reported that Julius Baer bank CEO, Alex Widmer has died.
While the bank initially released a statement that the death was a result of an unspecified illness, family friends have publicly referred to the untimely passing as suicide. Swiss authorities have thus far refused to offer their own confirmation one way or the other.
No way to say yet whether these travails had any bearing on Widmer's passing. Something is sure to be confirmed shortly, one way other the other.
Labels: Alex Widmer, Julius Baer, revenge, Rudolph Elmer, suicide, tax evasion, whistleblower
Speaking of UBS...
The prominent plaintiff attorney (Bernstein, Liebhard & Lifshitz), is seeing some dirty laundry aired thanks to his guilty plea on charges that he falsified his 2005 tax return
. Along with resigning from BLL, he'll pay a cool $4.8 million to make it right.
Labels: Bernstein, Liebhard and Lifshitz, Menachem Lifshitz, tax evasion
This is quite the significant indictment
UBS Coughing Up Names to U.S. Authorities
. Raoul Weil, come on down. Weil oversaw cross-border private banking for UBS from 2002 to 2007, overseeing a division that allegedly helped hide $20 billion from U.S. tax authorities.
Labels: Raoul Weil, tax evasion, UBS
Liechtenstein and Germany Get Downright Catty Over Tax Evasion Scandal
Agitating Over In-Action From Canadian Government on Exposed Tax Cheats
And there have got to be a lot of nervous people
Labels: tax evasion, UBS
Slate has my favorite article title of the week
Michael Miskin - Another Noted Name From Henrich Kieber's List
Scrutiny on Tax Evasion Leads to Resignation of UBS Banking Exec
. Even if it is a short one, the title makes it worth mentioning.
Labels: tax evasion, UBS
State of New York Files Suit Against UBS
UBS has announced the departure of David Aufhauser,
their general counsel for the Americas. Aufhauser is currently being investigated by the New York Attorney General's office in conjuction with a broader probe of the financial markets.
Labels: David Aufhauser, tax evasion, UBS
Recapping Last Weeks Private Banking Congressional Hearings
First of Many German Tax Evasion Trials Ends With Suspended Sentence, Major Fine
With its tax evasion and auction rate securities woes, UBS is sure getting it hard at both ends these days. Details on the NY suit right here
Labels: auction rate securities, lawsuit, tax evasion, UBS
A 66 year old retired real estate agent named only as Elmar S.
UBS Stops Offshore Accounts for U.S. Citizens
Tax Haven Senate Hearing Exhibits Now Online
was convicted in a one day trial of hiding millions of euros over five years via two Liechtenstein foundations.
To settle his tax tab Elmar was order by a Bochum court to pay a € 7.5 million fine, with € 1 million of that going to charity.
For the record, this is roughly the same amount that informant Heinrich Kieber was paid by the German government for the stolen customer records he purloined from former employer, LGT Bank.
That's one case down, hundreds more are expected. Germany has announced that 210 citizens are under investigation, conducted at least as many raids, brought cases against 350 and said that it is mulling over 400 more.
Already the announcement of the enforcement action has brought in € 110 million from tax delinquents.
You can argue with the tactics, but you can't argue with success.
Labels: Elmar S, Heinrich Kieber, LGT, Liechtenstein, tax evasion
Names Emerge in U.S. Tax Evasion Probe, Informants Make Ready to Testify
I won't be able to look them over until the evening. but you can have at them right now
. Looks like witness testimony is also being added as available.
You can also stream the live hearing
, assuming you've got RealPlayer
And here's a bit more on what we can expect from Heinrich Kieber's pre-recorded comments
Labels: hearing, tax evasion, tax havens
Samsung Boss Avoids Jail Time, Faces Steep Fine
In anticipation of a hearing scheduled for this morning, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has released a lengthy report
detailing the results of their six month investigation into the practices of LGT bank of Liechtenstein and Switzerland's UBS.
Much of the impetus for this of course stems from one Mr. Heinrich Keiber
and his famously stolen list of clients of Liechtenstein bank, LGT. Kieber is currently in hiding - a sound policy when you've royally pissed off an entire black book's worth of the world's wealthiest people.
Authorities were also aided by former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld
who recently plead guilty to aiding clients at UBS in evading taxes. Birkenfeld hipped authorities to billions in undeclared accounts of U.S. clients that were being discreetly held by UBS.Mario Staggl, another UBS banker implicated in the tax evasion scheme
, is currently a fugitive - wanted for failing to appear in U.S. federal court to answer charges that he aided clients in hiding some $200 million from the tax man. And yet Staggl, for a fugitive from justice, is living quite the normal life in Liechtenstein.
I haven't yet had a chance to review the Senate sub-committee report, which is not available online as of this writing. According to media reports, here are a few of the faces you can expect to see and names you can expect to see mentioned:
Frank Lowy - The Westfield Group's billionaire shopping mall magnate. Make it a family affair - Frank Lowy and sons Peter, David and Stephen are all under investigation. Peter Lowy is expected to appear at the hearing.
Harvey Greenfield - Toy industry executive of Commonwealth Toy and Novelty. Both Greenfield and son Steven are under investigation. Greenfield is expected to appear at the hearing.
James Albright Marsh - A Florida contractor, now deceased. One of Marsh's two sons, Shannon Marsh is on the witness list for the subcommittee hearing but is not expected to appear.
Richard M. Chong, a venture capitalist and (I believe) a Partner a Sycamore Ventures.
William Wu - a "wealthy Chinese businessman based in Queens, New York." Wu is also scheduled to testify at the hearing.
Igor Olenicoff, the California real estate tycoon. Olenicoff has already plead guilty to tax evasion charges and agreed to pay $52 million to the IRS.
In the most rousing bit of theater, Heinrich Kieber - the elusive informant that sold off LGT's private banking client list - is expected to appear via video to testify
(scratch that - it has been reported as a pre-taped statement). That should still be worth tuning in for - no doubt.
Other notable names on the witness list are Martin Liechti and head of UBS Wealth Management Americas; and Mark Branson, chief financial officer of UBS Global Wealth Management and Business Banking. You may recall that Liechti was previously detained by U.S. authorities
You can view the full witness list for the hearing
Labels: Bradley Birkenfeld, Heinrich Kieber, LGT, Mario Staggl, tax evasion, UBS
Lee Kun-Hee has avoided prison
Tax Informant Heinrich Kieber to Testify From Secret Locale
with a three year suspended sentence on tax evasion charges. He will, however, be forced to pay a more than $100 million fine. That hurts, no doubt, but he'll hardly miss it out of his $4.9 billion dollar net work.
The final numbers are quite a step down from the seven years behind bars and $400 million fine prosecutors had been aiming for. While it was suspected that Lee's had been using the extra cash for political bribes, prosecutors were never quite able to make the case.
On the other hand... Lee's sentence sure makes it look like this guy got the shaft
. Nine years in prison? It just goes to show - if you're going to steal money, its always better to steal a whole hell of a lot of it. And be, like, really important.
That helps too.
Labels: bribery, Lee Kun Hee, Samsung, tax evasion
Apparently Kieber will comment via video feed
BULGING PANTIES AND OVERSIZED TAX EVASION
from his secret lair in order to appear before the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations this Thursday. Meanwhile many weathly tax evaders are suddenly feeling that confession may be good for the soul.
Labels: Heinrich Kieber, tax evasion
Top UBS Banker Question on Tax Evasion
As a title, it probably reads better in the German
- Spiegel updates German authorities investigation into high income tax cheats.
Labels: Germany, tax evasion
Samsung Chairman Bows Out on Tax Evasion Charges
$80 Million Theft From GM Results in Indictment
U.S. authorities apparently held and questioned, Martin Liechti,
UBS's Head of Wealth Management for the Americas as in connection with an ongoing investigation into whether the bank had aided clients in evading taxes.
Certainly some smoke. We'll see whether there's fire to go along with it
Labels: Martin Liechti, tax evasion, USB
Liechtenstein Announces International Arrest Warrant for Heinrich Kieber, Releases Photo.
Daniel Bealko, a former commodities broker for GM and Anthony Brown, a metal dealer have been indicted by a Chicago grand jury for "diverting" $80 million from General Motors through an elaborate manipulation of the monies from the sale of aluminum owned by GM. Details at the Chicago Sun-Times.
Labels: Anthony Brown, Daniel Bealko, GM, tax evasion, wire fraud
Heinrich Kieber Changing Identities Again, And Maybe Faces as Well
This apparent photo of international tax informant (and widely wanted man), Heinrich Kieber, had been floating around for some time.
But this week, along with an arrest warrant
, authorities in Liechtenstein released this photo:
Obviously this is meant to raise the heat on Kieber, wherever he may be hiding. Some reports have suggested that Kieber has had plastic surgery, but that may just be bunk. In any case - RUN HEINRICH RUN!
Labels: BND, Heinrich Kieber, informer, Liechtenstein, tax evasion
Heinrich Kieber Checks In, Afraid For His Life Apparently
You can either take this with a grain of salt, or ponder the lengths you'd go to to avoid detection after cheesing off about 1,000 of the world's wealthiest tax evaders, with the Russian mafia reportedly among them.
Suddenly going under the knife
doesn't seem so bad. Beats one in the back.
Labels: Heinrich Kieber, tax evasion
Spiegel Reports on a Second Whistleblower in the Fast Spreading International Tax Evasion Investigation
Apparently Heinrich Kieber, currently the world's most famouse police informant, has been keeping up a pen-pal relationship with his benefactors at the German BND. Their last letter from Kieber was received right about he time his information set loose a series of raids on tax evaders in Germany. His tone? Worried, according to Spiegel
And more, from France24.com
"You are putting my life in danger," Heinrich Kieber wrote to German intelligence services, according to German weekly Focus in an article released Saturday in advance of publication. The informant has blamed the intelligence services for not keeping his identity secret and asked them to provide him with a new identity so that he can relocate to South America. His request has been refused, Focus reported.
As far as we know, Kieber is in hiding and still among the living, with Australia being his most likely port of call. How long he stays that way remains to be seen. Amongst those who Kieber outed to the German government for tax evasion, are those who don't find such things amusing and might be prone to retaliation.
The Russian mob is one group that has been mentioned along with the odd royal family or petty dictator - any of whom could decide to make it difficult for Kieber to enjoy his new found wealth.
Labels: BND, Heinrich Kieber, LGT, tax evasion
Did Heinrich Kieber Act Alone? FT Reports Authorities Seeking Accomplices
Meet whistleblower, Rudolf Elmer
of Switzerland's Julius Baer
bank. Unlike the now well known Heinrich Kieber, Elmer's not in it for the money - he just wants revenge against his former employer
. Want to check out Elmer's info? Try Wikileaks
. The embattled document sharing site is back online with a bank
. While you're there, pay special attention to Elmer's reference to the private investigators purportedly on his tail
Labels: Heinrich Kieber, Julius Baer, Rudolph Elmer, tax evasion, Wikileaks
Heinrich Kieber Shopped Stolen Records to the UK in 2006
I was inclined to let it slide the first time
the FT mentioned that authorities in Liechtenstein are pursing potential accomplices of known informant, Heinrich "Henry"
Kieber, but now they've gone and mentioned that word accomplices
for a second time.
That gets my radar up...
Labels: Germany, Heinrich Kieber, LGT, Liechtenstein, tax evasion
Chronology of Germany's Efforts to Stem Tax Evasion
The FT is reporting the Heinrich Kieber, the noted informant in Germany's current tax evasion crackdown first shopped is stolen collection of LGT bank records to UK tax authorities
- potentially as far back as 2005.
Kieber was apparently turned down back in 2006 by HMRC. It seems they, at the time, were not interested in paying a so-called whisteblower
(although German authorities give the impression it simply took the Brits too long to make a deal and Kieber simply began shopping for another buyer).
A lot has changed in a few years, it seems. After Germany lead the way British authorities apparently had no qualms about further lining Kieber's pockets - no matter that his information was illegally obtained.
The British treasure stand to collect as much as 100 million pounds in back taxes due to the information provided by Kieber.
Labels: Germany, Heinrich Kieber, HRMC, Liechtenstein, tax evasion
Codename: Henry - Heinrich Kieber is the German Tax Informant After All
Quite the handy resource from Forbes.com - worth a look.
Labels: Germany, tax evasion
Hold the Phone! FT Calls Identity of German Tax Tipster into Doubt!
Liechtenstein Informant Named (For Real, This Time)
Although the FT seemed to cast some doubt
that Henirich Kieber
- codenamed Henry
- was indeed the informant behind Germany's recent series of tax evasion busts, the consensus seems to be that Heinrich is in fact, the man
. Now, how a convicted real estate fraudster
(in Spain) ended up working for super-secret Liechtenstein bank, LGT
, I'll never understand. Isn't that what Interpol
But I digress...
The German secret service reportedly spent millions of Euros to purchase four DVDs
worth of LGT banking records from Kieber. The files revealed all manner of funds scurried away in Liechtenstein's secretive banks not just by 600 German citizens, but also 800 more from Great Britain, Canada
, France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the U.S. and Australia
Many of these countries have begun their own investigations. Although use of the Kieber list has proved to be highly controversial with some countries (Denmark, for example) eschewing its use in their probes, other nations (US, UK - I am looking at you
) have piled on to pay their own fees to access the stolen data.
Meanwhile, Liechtenstein is royally
pissed, Germans are overtaxed and wealthy types in virtually every major Western democracy are loosening their sweaty collars. But Heinrich Kieber? Well, we have it on good authority
that he's living somewhere comfortably, weathily
even, and with a new name. I'm thinking someplace sunny... Australia, perhaps
And if you're looking for more meat on the story but have so far skipped over all the links above, at least make a point of checking out this Speigel article on Heinrich Kieber
. It is without question the best and most exhaustive account you'll find anywhere.
Labels: Germany, Heinrich Kieber, informer, tax evasion, tax havens
Heinrich Kieber - COME ON DOWN!
Liechtenstein Bank Informer I.D.ed in German Probe
And it looks like many weathly U.S. citizens may be joining their German counterparts on the hook for hiding funds from the taxman in Liechtenstein's banks.
According to the WSJ, the Internal Revenue Service is in possession of the same banking records obtained by German authorities.
Also investigative their on citizenry are the United Kingdom, Australia, France and Canada.
Labels: Germany, Heinrich Kieber, Liechtenstein, tax evasion, tax havens
Woes of German Business Elite Continue, Government Comes Calling on Tax Evasion
Well, mostly identified:
- 42 year old man.
- worked at LGT between April and November 2001.
- convicted in 2004 for fraud, attempted blackmail and withholding evidence.
All this comes from German state prosecutor Robert Wallner
, who has pointedly not released a name. But come on
- how long could this list be?
Get to work INTERNET - I want an answer by noon EST.
Labels: Germany, informer, Liechtenstein, tax evasion
Kerik Goes Down in NY
Hundreds are under suspicion of tax evasion
and German officials have raided corporate offices
across the country in recent days. We're seeing what apparently amounts to an ethical shift in a country where tax evasion has been seen as a sort of sport
. The biggest target the tax probe to date has been Klaus Zumwinkel
, chief executive of Deutsche Post. One thing is virtually certain. As German regulators cast their eyes across the border at the Liechtenstein banks
where the wealthy and powerful have parked their illicit funds, more prominent names will soon be added to the list - as many as 900 of them
Labels: Germany, Klaus Zumwinkel, Liechtenstein, tax evasion
Did Cisco avoid more than a billion in import taxes?
He says he plans to fight the charges
. We wish him luck.
He'll need it.
Labels: Bernard Kerik, bribery, tax evasion
The Brazilian Authorities who raided Cisco's offices seem to think so
. 93 search warrants, 40 arrests, 650 agents. This was a no-joke operation. Cisco corporate claims to be cooperating
Labels: Brazil, Cisco, tax evasion