60 Minutes to feature Birkenfeld case

 

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“I gave them the biggest tax fraud case in the world. I exposed 19,000 international criminals. And I’m going to jail for that?” asks Birkenfeld. When reminded by Kroft that he was an enabler for clients who broke the law, he responds, “And I am the only one going to prison. Out of 19,000 accounts and no Swiss bankers.”

According to Thomas Perrelli, the associate attorney general of the United States, Birkenfeld’s information helped his office get “the accounts that are the core of the fraud.” The information led to UBS making a settlement with the U.S. government that included a fine of $780 million. But because Birkenfeld was not initially forthcoming about his largest American client, he was prosecuted. “If he had come forward and told us everything that he knew…in the summer of 2007, we think it’s likely he wouldn’t have been prosecuted,” says Perrelli.

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