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Tax evasion


Ex-UBS banker avoids prison in US tax probe


Former Swiss UBS banker Hansruedi Schumacher, who pleaded guilty to helping Americans hide their money from US tax authorities, has received a five-year suspended sentence and been fined $150,000 (CHF146,000) by a federal court in Florida, according to his lawyer. 

Schumacher, 57, who was indicted in 2009, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the US as part of the government’s ongoing prosecution of bank officials who assist Americans in tax evasion. 

He faced six years in prison but prosecutors requested a reduced sentence as he had cooperated with the investigation.

Schumacher was a regional market manager for UBS AG's North American international business from the 1990s through mid-2002. Following his 2014 arrest he cooperated as a key witness in the case against Raoul Weil, a former top UBS banker who oversaw an estimated $4 trillion in assets. Weil was found not guilty in November 2014 following a three-week trial. 

Last year Schumacher told jurors that he oversaw UBS accounts for about 15,000 US clients in 1999, and most were structured to cheat the Internal Revenue Service. Clients shunned calls or account statements from their Swiss bankers, preferring personal visits, usually in hotels, he said. Bankers often changed hotels to avoid suspicion from the staff.

US authorities have charged more than two dozen people with assisting tax evasion via Swiss banks since 2008. In 2009 UBS paid $780 million in fines and turned over the names of more than 4,000 clients.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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