still run the world
by Joe Conason
With Senate approval of crucial banking reform
legislation increasingly in doubt, it is all too clear that the felonies
and blunders of the world’s financiers have done
nothing to reduce their political domination. Even UBS, the Swiss
banking giant that pleaded guilty last year to
abetting tax evasion and paid a $780 million fine, can still put in the
according to Bradley Birkenfeld, the former UBS
banker who helped to expose the tax-avoidance scheme.
In recent interviews, Birkenfeld claimed that
U.S. political figures are among secret UBS clients whose names were
supposed to be turned over to IRS and Justice
authorities in a settlement of federal charges against the bank last year.
He says that's why he is the only UBS employee
currently doing time in an American prison, although he has assisted
the U.S. government in recovering billions of
dollars from crooked UBS clients -- of whom thousands came forward
last year under an IRS amnesty program.
They steal billions of dollars, then they get
the IRS to promote an amnesty program
so they can get out of trouble without anybody
finding out they were guilty in the first place.
What did they pay back - ten cents on every dollar
With considerable justification, Birkenfeld has
complained bitterly about his treatment by the government for many months
and tried to have his sentence reduced
last winter. Now seeking clemency from President Obama, Birkenfeld insists
UBS friends in high places are still using their
clout to protect the bank and its clients from the full consequences of
covert war against the Treasury. The ex-banker
told Reuters that is why only he, among dozens of UBS bankers and
clients implicated in the enormous scheme, is
currently incarcerated at a federal facility:
"Where are all the people that are politically
connected in Washington that had accounts at UBS?" Birkenfeld asked.
"I'm telling you this is a political cover-up.
Why is it that the whistleblower is the only guy in jail?" he said.
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