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Former UBS banker indicted for tax fraud

Two foreign bankers, one a former
UBS private banker, were today
indicted in Florida for defrauding USA’s
Internal Revenue Service
(IRA) by helping billionaire Igor Olenicoff, a real estate developer from Orange
County, Calfornia, evade US taxes on $US200m (?103m) hidden in Swiss and
Liechtenstein bank accounts.

Birkenfeld, who was arraigned in Fort Lauderdale, entered a plea of not
guilty and was released on a $US100,000 secured bond and $US2m personal surety
bond. The other defendant, Mario Staggl, a Liechtenstein citizen and resident,
remains at large, the government said.

According to the indictment, brought by the US attorney for Southern Florida,
Olenicoff, said to be worth $US1.6bn, named an ‘unindicted co-conspirator’,
settled with the government in December when he pleaded guilty to one charge of
filing a false 2002 individual income tax return and paid $52m in back taxes,
interest and civil fraud penalties.

The indictment alleges Birkenfeld and Staggl defrauded the IRS by falsifying
Swiss bank documents and W-8BENs and by setting up ‘nominee entities’ to hide
the true ownership of assets. Staggl was allegedly the owner of New Haven Trust
Company, a Liechtenstein trustee of accounts used to hide Olenicoff’s ownership
of assets.

Further reading:

the Forbes magazine story

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