November 12, 2008

Tax Probe Turns on UBS Executive

A U.S. grand jury indicted an executive of Swiss bank UBS Wednesday and officials alleged co-conspirators helped 20,000 clients evade U.S. taxes.

An indictment charging executive Raoul Weil with conspiracy alleged as many as 17,000 UBS clients illegally hid their names from the Internal Revenue Service. Prosecutors also called attention to others who "occupied positions of the highest level of management within the Swiss bank," The New York Times reported.

U.S. prosecutors in the South District of Florida allege as much as $20 billion may be secreted in UBS accounts with a total of $300 million owed to the IRS for the years 2000 through 2007, the Times said.

Weil headed the bank's international wealth management business and was promoted to chief executive of a UBS division that includes worldwide accounts in 2007, the Times said.

The indictment says Weil "mandated that Swiss bankers grow the cross-border business, despite knowing that this would cause bankers to violate U.S. law," the Financial Times reported.