Former UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld files $20 million libel suit against former employer

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Bradley Birkenfeld, the former UBS Group AG banker who became a whistleblower helping U.S. authorities prosecute the Swiss bank for tax fraud and who won a $104 million award, has now filed a libel lawsuit against  UBS over concerning statements he published last November and this month by the New York Post and Bloomberg BNA Daily Tax Report. Birkenfeld said UBS acted with actual malice by referring to his “often unsubstantiated” recollections in a recent book and having been “convicted in the U.S. for, among other things, having lied to the U.S. authorities.”He said UBS did this as part of an international campaign to impede his effort to expose its “decades-long wrongdoing,” and undercut the credibility and sales of his book “Lucifer’s Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy.”

The lawsuit  was filed in a New York state court in Manhattan and seeks $10 million of both compensatory and punitive damages. It also names Peter Stack, UBS’ head of media relations in the Americas, as a defendant. The New York Post and Bloomberg are not defendants.

Birkenfeld provided tips that led UBS in 2010 to pay a $780 million U.S. fine for helping about 19,000 wealthy Americans hide up to $20 billion in secret bank accounts. More recently, he testified in a similar probe involving the bank in France. Birkenfeld’s lawsuit stated that the Post clarified its article to show he was “never charged with or convicted of perjury or lying to U.S. investigatory authorities.”

Now 52, Birkenfeld said in the interview he now works with whistleblowers “so they can get their message out and eradicate waste, fraud and corruption in government, as well as corporations.”

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers