Ex-UBS banker tells jury clients cheating on taxes

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A former UBS executive gave a primer on the workings of Swiss bank secrecy to a Florida jury hearing the tax-conspiracy trial of Raoul Weil, who once ran the bank’s global wealth-management business.

Bloomberg News reports that Hansruedi Schumacher told jurors Wednesday that he oversaw UBS accounts for about 15,000 U.S. 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.

'We knew from the way the accounts were set up that the majority of these 15,000 clients were cheating on their taxes,' said Schumacher, the first banker to testify at the federal trial in Fort Lauderdale.

Weil, 54, was indicted in 2008 on charges of conspiring to help as many as 17,000 U.S. taxpayers hide $20 billion from the IRS. He was arrested last year in Bologna, Italy, and waived extradition. Schumacher was also indicted, in August 2009, and is testifying against Weil without a plea deal in hand.

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Ex-UBS Banker Gives Florida Jury a Primer on Bank Secrecy

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