For Immediate Release
Lindsey M. Williams (202) 342-1903
UBS Whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld Will File Official Clemency Petition on April 15th
Birkenfeld, who is currently serving a 40-month sentence for one count
of conspiracy to defraud the United States at Schuylkill County federal
prison, will file a formal request for clemency to President Barack
Obama on Tax Day, April 15, 2010.
Mr. Birkenfeld is the most important tax whistleblower in U.S.
history, and is credited with being the first international banker to
shatter Switzerland's historic bank secrecy laws. His allegations have
directly resulted in billions of dollars in savings to the U.S.
taxpayers. Before his imprisonment, Mr. Birkenfeld's case was
highlighted on 60 minutes, and he was named Tax Notes
"Person of the Year. "
During his sentencing proceeding, the Department of Justice
admitted that "but for Mr. Birkenfeld" the illegal $20 billion tax
evasion "scheme" by the Swiss banking giant UBS "would not have been
discovered by the U.S. government." As a result of Mr. Birkenfeld's
unprecedented and voluntary disclosures, the U.S. government stands to
recover an estimated $3 to $5 billion in immediate tax recoveries.
Additionally, UBS was forced to agree to pay a $780 million fine to the
United States and the IRS created an amnesty program under which 14,700
Americans came forward to report illegal offshore bank accounts.
In making this request, Mr. Birkenfeld stated the following in his
"[Birkenfeld] made every effort to come to the United States on
numerous occasions, at his own expense and risk to his life, to meet
with the DOJ, IRS, SEC and U.S. Senate prior to his indictment by the
DOJ. He also came forth with hundreds of internal documents recording
the illegal actions of UBS and U.S. taxpayers and testified about his
involvement with Mr. Olenicoff before Olenicoff was indicted and was
sentenced. As the Justice Department rightfully stated in formal court
filings: 'Birkenfeld has provided substantial assistance in the
investigation and prosecution of others who have committed offenses.
This substantial assistance has been timely, significant, useful,
truthful, complete and reliable.'" Attachment 11, Motion for
Sentence Reduction filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of Florida (No.
08-60099)(docketed August 18, 2009), page 4. DOJ filing linked here.
Stephen Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers
Center and attorney for Mr. Birkenfeld said, "On Tax Day, it is
absolutely critical that President Obama send a message that
whistleblowers are welcome in the United States. He can send this
message by exercising his constitutional authority and granting Bradley
Birkenfeld his freedom."
In support of the clemency petition, the National Whistleblowers
Center is organizing a worldwide letter writing campaign. A copy of
this international appeal letter is linked here.
The official clemency petition will be filed with the President of
the United States and the Office of the Pardon Attorney on April 15, and
will be made available online.
Please contact Lindsey Williams at 202-342-1903 or firstname.lastname@example.org
to arrange an interview with Mr. Birkenfeld's attorneys, Dean Zerbe or
Stephen M. Kohn.
THE LAST FIREWALL AGAINST THE LIES
Independent media has become the last firewall against government and corporate lies. Yet, with frightening regularity, independent media sources are losing funding, closing down or being blacked out by Google and Facebook. Never before has independent media been more endangered. If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent media, please support our critical Winter campaign now and help us fight—with truths—against the lies that would smother our democracy. Please help keep Common Dreams alive and growing.
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.