The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Lindsey M. Williams (202) 342-1903

UBS Whistleblower Enters Prison

Minersville, PA

At 2 pm today UBS whistleblower
Bradley Birkenfeld surrendered to U.S. authorities and commenced
serving a three-year and four-month sentence at the Schuylkill County
Federal Correctional Institution in Minersville, Pennsylvania.

M. Kohn, the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center
and one of Mr. Birkenfeld's attorneys issued the following statement:

American tragedy. A disgraceful miscarriage of justice. An insult to
every honest American who must work hard and pay their taxes. The
imprisonment of Bradley Birkenfeld, the most important tax
whistleblower in history, is shocking and unjustified. This decision is
not only grossly unfair and personally harmful to Mr. Birkenfeld, it
will also have a radical chilling effect on the willingness of other
bankers to step forward and expose fraud. This is devastating to any
efforts to expose the use of illegal offshore bank
accounts by criminals who want to avoid taxes."

"After a
careful investigation, we have now demonstrated that the justifications
provided by the Justice Department for this unprecedented act of
retaliation against a whistleblower were not true. Justice Department
lawyers misled the public and a court in justifying their reasons for
indicting Mr. Birkenfeld and asking the Court to sentence him to a long
prison term."

"Mr. Birkenfeld's
40-month sentence is a direct result of blowing the whistle on one of
the largest tax fraud schemes in U.S. history, which has resulted in
UBS bank paying a $780 million penalty to the United
States, and over 14,000 "taxpayers" voluntarily disclosing their
illegal offshore accounts. Mr. Birkenfeld's disclosures have resulted
in a multi-billion dollar net-gain to American
taxpayers, and have forced UBS bank to shut down a massive illegal
offshore banking practice. He is a hero, not a criminal. He did the
right thing in voluntarily stepping forward and exposing these massive
frauds. He deserves our thanks and praise, not the terrible fate that
awaits him in prison."

are asking every person who wants to stop illegal offshore banking that
results in over $100 billion in tax losses per/year to the United
States to TAKE ACTION and write to the Attorney General, asking that
the Justice Department's decision to imprison Mr. Birkenfeld be

Dean Zerbe, co-counsel for Mr. Birkenfeld,
stated: "This is a sad day for Brad and his family. A tragedy for
the honest American taxpayers who
will shoulder higher taxes because a generation of tax whistleblowers
will be discouraged from coming forward."

The National Whistleblower Center, through its TAKE ACTION
advocacy program, is urging people to contact the Attorney General and
request that the Birkenfeld case be reviewed and the decision to
imprison him be reconsidered.

Since 1988, the NWC and attorneys associated with it have supported whistleblowers in the courts and before Congress and achieved victories for environmental protection, government contract fraud, nuclear safety and government and corporate accountability.