Oh those Secret Swiss Bank Accounts - UBS Pays $780 Million

This is juicy. Of course there are now many countries available to hide money and avoid paying taxes. (Let's invade the Caymans?)

In UBS Will Disclose Names, Pay $780 Million to End U.S. Tax Case, Bloomberg has some real cloak and dagger details:

The bank’s Swiss advisers traveled to the U.S. a few times a year to solicit customers at art shows, as well as yachting and other sporting events, the SEC said. To conceal their activities, advisers carried encrypted laptop computers and got training from the bank on avoiding detection, the agency said.

UBS settled the probes after a series of disclosures that followed the guilty plea last June of a former private banker, Bradley Birkenfeld.

The company reaped $200 million a year by helping high- income clients through such practices as setting up sham entities in tax havens including Switzerland, Panama, the British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong and Liechtenstein, Birkenfeld said in pleading guilty in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.

The bank helped Americans evade taxes even after signing a 2001 agreement that required it to identify account holders and their income to U.S. authorities, according to prosecutors. Birkenfeld said many clients refused to disclose their assets because it would defeat the purpose of banking with UBS -- evading taxes.

These are individuals....small peanuts to be frank.

Senator Bryon Dorgan has been working hard on corporations hiding billions in offshore tax havens. From a recent press release:

A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released today by U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Carl Levin (D-MI) shows that a majority of the largest publicly-traded companies and federal contractors in the United States use multiple subsidiaries in offshore tax havens to conduct business. Dorgan and Levin, who have focused on combating offshore tax abuses causing an estimated $100 billion in lost U.S. tax revenues each year, point out that many of these companies are paid with taxpayer dollars and some have also received billions of dollars in taxpayer bailout funds

Catch that last part? TARP recipients are committing corporate tax invasion....uh, didn't we just give these companies even more U.S. taxpayer dollars?

$100 billion dollars a year. That's a lot of TARP funds.

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