Thursday, February 19, 2009

UBS Gets Double Break in Justice Department Settlement

Phil Gramm's UBS walked away from muti-year, widespread criminal behavior with a settlement. The firm helped 17,000 Americans cheat Uncle Sam. They illegally offshored $20 billion in assets. UBS did so despite a 2001 deal to provide names of account holders to the IRS.

The settlement did not make the Obama team's transparency list. It sits under seal. Bloomberg reported 250 names will be revealed. That leaves 16,750 unnamed. The $780 million settlement came in well under the expected $1 billion amount. What else did Obama's Justice Department do to help UBS? WaPo reported:

The settlement allows UBS to delay for up to four years a big chunk of its promised payment to the U.S. government.

Does UBS deserve a break?

Executives "at the highest levels of management," as well as lower-ranking managers and employees, are unindicted co-conspirators, according to yesterday's filings.

In 2006, executives rejected an internal recommendation that UBS stop providing Swiss accounts to U.S. clients, the government alleged. UBS executives considered that step too costly, the government charged.

That business generated annual revenue of up to $200
million for UBS, according to estimates in yesterday's court

The fine wipes out less than four years of profit on the illegal activity. The only person indicted is a Swiss citizen, who is legally protected from extradition. It seems Phil Gramm got his cake and got to eat it to. American justice for the big money boys.