By Patricia Hurtado & Christie Smythe – Feb 20, 2013 2:40 AM GMT+0100
A U.S. judge ordered five unidentified taxpayers to turn over information about their foreign bank accounts to a federal grand jury, rejecting arguments that they are shielded by the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act or a constitutional right against self-incrimination.
U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan said today that a federal grand jury in 2010 began investigating “whether each of the five subjects had a financial interest in foreign bank accounts that they failed to disclose to the Internal Revenue Service.”
In a victory for the government, Pauley said individuals can’t assert a constitutional right against self-incrimination and refuse to disclose bank records to a U.S grand jury.
I hope that the Grand Jury recognizes that Americans living abroad have local bank accounts where they live, not “foreign bank accounts”, unless they have a bank account in the US, which would then be a “foreign bank account”. The Grand Jury should understand that an American who does not live in America does not live in America, unlike stateside Americans who may bank in other nations. The difference is great and needs to be considered. Tossing all Americans into the same bucket in regards to local bank accounts can create a lot of confusion and misconduct when seeking a problem that doesn’t exist.