Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Guilty plea from Swiss banker could indicate new direction in US fight against illegal tax havens

A Swiss banker and former UBS employee’s recent guilty plea in a US tax case suggests a possible new direction and commitment for the US in its fight against illegal tax havens abroad.

Renzo Gadola was accused of recently travelling to Miami to advise a wealthy American to illegally conceal her money in a regional Swiss bank. The type of bank into which Gadola had intended to conceal the funds is known as a cantonal bank.

Attorney Brian Skarlatos, whose firm represents numerous former UBS account holders, told The Wall Street Journal that the regional cantonal banks were thought, until now, to be places where it was “safe to hide [US] money because those banks do not do business in the United States.”

Gadola’s guilty plea and cooperation with US officials could mark the beginning of further US efforts to root out illegally hidden, taxable US money in cantonal Swiss banks.