The IRS has completely restored my faith in humanity, for I see finally that there remains some honour among theives. Zero Hedge reports the details (Source, Reuters):
Jailed UBS Employee Gets $104 Million From IRS For Exposing Swiss Bank Account Holders
Zero Hedge nicely summarizes the implication of this action:
Uncle Sam wants you, dear concerned citizen, to expose all other such evil Swiss bank account holders (electoral campaign implications here being painfully obvious). You will be richly rewarded. But watch your back, dear concerned citizen, if you ever succeed in escaping into the rarefied air of having 2 nickels to rub together, and decide to save them not on US soil, for some inexplicable reason, but, say, Zurich or Geneva.
See also: Foreign Financial Institutions could recover some of their costs for implementing FATCA
@Calgary, thanks for quoting Berg and Gifford.
The answer is no. The tax snitch puts his life into harm’s way. I think that the problem is that this guy Birkenfeld has made enemies and that he will have his money, but he better hope he didn’t snitch on a Tony Soprano or someone of like character.
CH & BB – As so often, I find my porous brain putting me on both sides. My common tendency is to jump up and down on the end of the see-saw that seems to need some additional weight. I never like to see argumentation get personal. No ad hominem is a basic. That said, I also see CH exposing a contradiction, which exposure, at an abstract level, has the elegance of symbolic logic. Statists put themselves in a hard position to criticize the state for anything whatsoever. I’m not calling anyone a statist here, but I think statist love of unfreedom (aka rules) has stirred up more than one useless tempest at Brock.
Bounty Hunter spotted in the distance!
… and, with this latest real generosity, my June comment is no longer relevant…
Further comment on IRS “generosity” to whistle blowers:
“Despite a cavernous tax gap, the IRS does seem to be particularly fond of whistleblowers who blow the cover of major tax cheats and tax evaders. Under the law, whistleblowers could be awarded up to 30% of the taxes that are collected from the subjects. But the sad reality is that over the past 5 years, only 3 awards have been paid to whistleblowers out of a staggering 1,300 claims filed against almost 10,000 companies and individuals that amount to an underpayment of more than $2 million each. …”
I see this story is getting a lot of ink and air time.
Here is what was on NPR’s Morning Edition today..
Accounting Today has one also which is just reporting on the Bloomberg story.
and, as you would expect, Jack Townsend..has his blog comments too with some better information.
I didn’t know this…
This should certainly get him consideration for the 2012 award too..
There are many other popular media stories, but I assume you all will find them.
@Just Me: Kudos for your comments to these articles.
The NPR piece started with this:
“After a scandal somebody finally gets rich for doing the right thing.”
and went downhill from there. Do you think that the loss of financial privacy that Birkensfeld caused was “the right thing”?
I also like this statement from federal tax crime article:
“Failure to compensate Birkenfeld would have principally benefited
Switzerland and other bank secrecy jurisdictions. Switzerland depends on
criminal penalties, including jail, to dissuade bank employees from
selling valuable information. But the old ways are breaking down as
banks feel the pressure from the United States.”
The timing is very suspect because Birkensfeld had more time to serve, so there has to be some ulterior motive. We will probably see the related quid pro quo in the near future.
@usxcanada, exposing or projecting a contradiction, as it’s projected that I’m a liberal and thus deserving of being berated?
bubblebustin – You know me, the one with a flak magnet jumping around in a minefield. I wasn’t taking sides. I wasn’t trying to say anything about anybody. (Except perhaps myself, that I like to take pokes at statists and rule fetishists.) One statement to which I will subscribe: The state [insert specific here if desired] is not your friend. I was dealing with abstractions. Labels are stupid unless maybe you’re the one raking in the pile from the fabricated cachet. (Lululemon anyone?) Provisional categories can be useful sometimes. I have no idea whether you are a “liberal” or not and have not even speculated on that matter. I don’t think I used the L word. Do you want to be one? (-:
“it’s projected that I’m a liberal and thus deserving of being berated”
Atta-girl, head him off at the pass and make sure he doesn’t leave the plantation. I “berated” you for being a hyprocrite, a charge which you never replied to. And I certainly didn’t project my “liberalism” on you. Let me give you an example of projection:
“ConfederateH. I know that most of us now ignore many of your outbursts”
You were projecting the fact that you may (but appear not to) ignore my “outbursts” on other readers, but its clear that you have no way of knowing who actually reads them. Even worse, once again you have made a typical liberal attempt at a form of censorship on me. You have already claimed that I have touretts syndrome, you smear my posts as “outbursts”, and you try to convince other readers that no self respecting liberal reads them, but in a show of typical liberal hypocrisy you have shown that your “liberal values” only apply to followers of your brand of “liberalism”. Lets also throw in that you voted for Obama in 2008 and wrote to Democrats Abroad that you would only vote for Obama if he changed his policies concerning citizenship based taxation. Bravo again, you have shown that you are willing to throw all homelander sufferers of the IRS under the bus as long as you get your tax breaks. Again, typical liberal.
So I say if it votes like a duck and censors like a duck then it is probably a liberal.
On Switzerland and the Mafia by Simon Black:
“Yet even mafia thugs know that wives and kids are off limits. Western authorities clearly have absolutely no moral compunction whatsoever in getting their ‘fair share.’”
No editorial comment from me in relation to this, (just an observation) but thought readers might find this interesting. It is a Forbes opinion piece written by a co-council with Stephen Kohn (Birkenfield’s attorney) on the Whistle blower law.
The IRS Whistleblower Program Turns The Corner
Note Stephen Millar’s support of the Whistle Blowers Office. It is my bet, that he will get the IRS Commissioner position, at least on a temporary basis when Shulman steps down in November. If this support is true, then it may really become open season for dobbing in Americans abroad for the foreseeable future.
The other interesting comment on Jack’s blog was this one… The U.S. doesn’t care about any other countries laws when it comes to Taxes, it seems.
@Just Me: I object to the use of the term “whistleblower” for what are nothing more than paid IRS snitches.
Well the US just gets hated more and more around the world every day but so many homelanders cling to the fantasy that they are somehow exceptional and somehow are role model for the rest of the world:
Turmoil Spreads to U.S. Embassy in Yemen
Some Swiss still have illusions about the US, but some day the US will wake up without a single friend on the entire planet.
Won’t get an argument out of me…
I have posted this more ‘nuanced’ moderate post elsewhere…
You wrote: “don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax the guy behind the tree”.
Perhaps a more fitting version: “don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax the EXPAT behind the tree.”
Yes, I did take an intentional shot across the bow at you by speculating that your outbursts are ignored by many. Is it a ‘projection’, or a negative that can’t be proven, or both? Regardless, I unnecessarily cast you in a bad light for which I apologize.
There have been instances when I have asked you questions that to this day remain unanswered, so to fault me for doing the same seems unfair. However in a spirit of good will I’ll attempt to answer the only one on this thread that may have been directed at me. To be sure, is it this one?
“If you are a liberal/progressive/statist/democrat and you support “social justice” and a government monopoly on just about all economic aspects of our lives, including our health, then how can you claim that the state is not justified in taxing citizens in any fashion that it deems “fair”?”
@bubblebustin: In general I answer any question put to me, perhaps I missed yours because I was no longer following a particular thread. Also, if I find a post insulting, as in your saying that I suffer from Touretts, then I also may decide not to reply.
Yes, that is a fundamental question that I would ask.
One of the questions I asked was early on in your contributions to Brock, after your first skirmish here and before the Sandbox splinter. You said you joined Brock to “spread the word”or something to that effect, and I asked what that word was.
In order for me to answer the question, we need to agree to the terms used. Define liberal, please.
Well I wrote:
”If you are a liberal/progressive/statist/democrat”
so that would hardly be Classical liberalism: “a political ideology that advocates free markets, limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and individual liberties including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and others”
The liberalism I am referring to is the one that justifies the governments “right” to determine our “fair share”. It is the one that the likes of the Kennedys, Obamas, Clintons, Pelosis, Schumers and Levins hang their hats on. You know, the “liberalism” of the new deal, “we are our brothers keeper”, social justice, progressive income taxes, free and unlimited birth control, Obamacare. Really it is just the liberalism of the “oppressed” who are really just seeking special rights and privileges at the cost of the rest of us. The same as the liberalism of the left that robs us of the right to private health care, private finances, private compensation, private contracts. In short, the liberalism that has turned from defining our freedoms into the defining the rights of the state to intrude into every corner of our lives. Just think of Canada where there is no more right to bear arms or speak freely, where people who want healthcare unsodomized by the state are forced to go to the US, of all places. The liberalism that the left have perverted in order to keep the people from realizing that the only liberalism on offer is nothing more than slavery. That liberalism. Thats the liberalism you believe in when you vote for Obama.
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Bradley Birkenfeld was arrested for DWI in New Hampshire in July 2013 and has now been found guilty. He contested the charges claiming that he had been singled out since he was the only one arrested that night of 219 stopped. Sentencing is to occur in August and he may be headed back to jail for nine more months since he was on parole when this occurred. He was released nine months early from his sentence for aiding and abetting tax evasion.
A Swiss radio station is reporting that Bradley Birkenfeld wishes to leave the US to re-settle in Europe, according to an application he filed with the Miami court overseeing his parole. A Swiss newspaper speculates that he would like to settle in Zermatt, where he had a holiday home until it was sold at a forced auction in 2011:
I wonder how he will be able to acquire a residence permit in Europe:
a. His Swiss residence permit would have become invalid when he moved to the US.
b. With his $104 million whistleblower’s payment, he could afford to buy citizenship in Malta, or possibly a residence permit for Portugal.
c. On the other hand, would Malta or Portugal grant citizenship or a residence permit to a convicted felon?
d. Possibly he could apply for refugee status, claiming political persecution.
e. Then there’s the sticky issue of getting a bank account in Europe.
Stay tuned – there will certainly be more on this story in the coming months.
In my above comment it was noted that Bradley Birkenfeld was planning to move to Europe and I speculated that he might try to acquire citizenship of Malta. He is indeed living in Malta although apparently with a residence permit, which he possibly purchased through an investment scheme, and not Maltese citizenship at this time.
This recent article wonders how he was able to obtain a residence permit with his criminal record:
Although Birkenfeld may be satisfied with an indefinite residence permit for Malta, I suspect that this is not the end-game for him and that he will apply for EU Maltese citizenship. Maltese citizenship can be purchased for € 1.2 million. He will then leave Malta for other parts of the EU and renounce his US citizenship. Just a guess of course.
He wants to move to Bavaria, says Bloomberg. And in the meantime he is starting a company to help governments and whistleblowers understand each others needs. (I paraphrase.). And he’s not doing it for the money. (But he does have a book to sell.)