In a federal tax evasion trial of a top Swiss bank executive Raoul Weil, is accused of conspiring to conceal up to $20 billion in U.S. taxpayers’ assets in secret offshore accounts. The former head of the wealth management division for the Americas at UBS , Martin Liechti, began testified against Weil, the highest-ranking foreign banker to be charged in the U.S. government’s legal campaign to stamp out offshore tax evasion.
Several of Weil’s former co-workers have already revealed significant details concerning how UBS bankers avoided being caught, including using a computerized card game to mask secret, hidden laptop hard drives or handing over to a client thousands of dollar bills in interest, wrapped in a newspaper.
Liechti described how he and Weil rose up the ranks of the Zurich-based banking giant to hold lofty executive positions at UBS. He told how he, Weil, and other high-ranking UBS executives first learned more than a decade ago about the criminal liability they faced if the U.S. government found out they were helping American clients cheat on their taxes.
He also said the IRS had begun cracking down on credit card companies Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc to reveal the identities of card holders with offshore accounts.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers