The Filthy Rich: UBS AG and Lichtenstein LGT Group Help U.S. Clients Hide Money

From Bloomberg:

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UBS, LGT Helped Hide Assets, Evade Taxes, Senate Says (Update1)
By David Voreacos and Carlyn Kolker

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- UBS AG and Liechtenstein bank LGT Group aided rich U.S. clients who wanted to disguise ownership of accounts and evade taxes on hidden assets, a Senate subcommittee said.

UBS, the world's largest wealth manager, hid as much as $17.9 billion for 19,000 Americans who didn't declare assets to the Internal Revenue Service, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said in a report released in Washington late yesterday. LGT, owned by Liechtenstein's ruling family, fostered a ``culture of secrecy and deception'' while assigning code names to U.S. clients, the panel said.

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Isn't it nice that banks will bend over backwards for the money of rich Americans?

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Senate investigators got help from former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld, 43, who pleaded guilty June 19 to helping California billionaire Igor Olenicoff evade taxes. Birkenfeld said he conspired with Liechtenstein banker Mario Staggl, 43, who was indicted with him on April 10.

Staggl is a fugitive.

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Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Mr. Staggl should contact the Justice Department, post-haste -- it appears that they are actually taking this case seriously, as opposed to domestic ones that are looking into multiple instances of malfeasance and criminal conduct by the Bush Administration, and therefore might actually use the information wisely.

Check out the complete article on Bloomberg (linked at the top of the story). It's an eye-opener.

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is a drop in the bucket. There's a lot more out there. I would put that number at around 300 billion. (Just a guess.)

gone on, in addition to the higher rate of pillaging of the National Treasury, I'd say you're probably close -- if not low.

Several years ago, the IRS did a study of debit card purchases and transactions using off-shore banks. Based on spending habits, they determined approximately $70 billion in tax revenue was lost each year to off-shore accounts in countries like the Cayman Islands. (I hope I'm not grossly misremembering.)

I'll try and dig up an article on the story.

This is what I've found so far...

The Financial Times had an article in 2003:
"Amnesty for Offshore Tax Evasion Ploys" January 14, 2003

A cached description from another site:
Amnesty for Offshore Tax Evasion Ploys (January 14, 2003)
US tax authorities will give off-shore tax evaders three months to pay up or risk heavy fines and criminal charges. Estimates indicate that as much as $70 billion is lost to tax evasion in off-shore accounts, usually by the US’ wealthiest citizens. (Financial Times)

use cards directly identifying their accounts.

I think Craig's right -- the real number must be higher...

Great catch, Susie! Thank you.

To C-Span to see if this was going to be televised, couldn't find it, but they are going to carry 'Netroots Nation', go figure!!

McCain Uses POW Status as Sword & Shield

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

Seeing the DoJ actually investigating crimes might confuse people.

UBS to stop offshore banking for U.S. residents

Swiss bank UBS AG will discontinue offshore banking and securities services to U.S. residents through its branches, a UBS executive said on Thursday at a congressional hearing on offshore tax havens.

i>McCain Uses POW Status as Sword & Shield

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

and pillaged from our Treasury and from Iraq should be suddenly available again.

Good to know.