All posts tagged tax evasion

Birkenfeld believes there’s at least $1-billion in federal unpaid taxes in Canada

By Allan Cutler

For the past four years, I have been attempting to get Bradley Birkenfeld to come to Canada and assist the Canadian government by testifying and providing valuable documentation regarding the illegal off-shore industry. Birkenfeld believes that there is at least $1-billion in federal unpaid taxes in Canada.

Birkenfeld was an American banker working in Switzerland. As a whistleblower, he exposed the largest and longest running tax fraud by Americans using off-shore accounts. The unprecedented results were shocking and ultimately he received an award of $104-million from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) since more than $5-billion of unpaid taxes were recovered. In keeping with the fine traditions of the U.S.A., the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecuted him (and only him) for the exact revelations that had resulted in this award. The absolutely false argument made by the DOJ was that he withheld a client name from them. In any event, he received a criminal record and a 31-month jail term for the historic and courageous actions.

The story does not end there. Birkenfeld has been instrumental in the massive fraud investigation against the Swiss Banks and the further release of names of tax evaders by Swiss authorities. To this day, Birkenfeld continues to fight this corruption and has helped a number of foreign governments to recover what is rightly owed them.… Read the rest

Another whistleblower bites the dust

Ian Bron

Three weeks ago, Sylvie Therrien, a federal Employment Insurance fraud investigator, was fired for leaking documents that exposed a quota that she and her coworkers were required to meet. She is the latest victim of a continued war against whistleblowers in the federal government, one that has not slowed despite the passage of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act in 2007. Her case, both tragic on a personal level and disturbing on a public level, says much about the culture of the senior public service.

When questioned about the matter Ms. Therrien brought to light, the government claimed that it wasn’t a quota, but rather a target. Furthermore, it argued that it was justified in firing her because she had ignored internal avenues of dissent and had released documents not intended for public disclosure.

These claims need to be examined in a broader context in order to understand how weak they are. Ms. Therrien exposed a directive which targeted EI recipients in a manner that created a moral hazard for government fraud investigators: that is, they were being given an incentive to make decisions based not on the merits of a case, but to meet a quota (or target) for which they would be rewarded.… Read the rest

Media Update for January 22, 2011

More Swiss bank whistleblowing; whistleblower arrested:

The story of the bank whistleblower Rudolf Elmer continues to develop. Elmer, who was a long-time employee of the Swiss bank Julius Baer, blew the whistle on tax evasion and other activities facilitated by the bank in 2008. What he did is illegal in Switzerland, which built its banking industry on the kind of secrecy criminals and dictators appreciate. He was charged and fined.

As a whistleblower, Elmer is somewhat flawed. He worked at the bank for 20 years and was aware of the problems, but only came forward after being dismissed from the bank in 2002. Some have argued that his primary motivation is revenge. This isn’t uncommon as at least one of several motivators in whistleblowing, and – as long as the evidence isn’t faked (as Julius Baer claims it is) – it shouldn’t matter.

Of course that doesn’t matter to Swiss authorities, who have rearrested Elmer after he held a press conference in which he handed a CD containing banking information to WikiLeaks this week. He claims it will show more criminal activity.

Another Swiss bank whistleblower, Bradley Birkenfeld, was also charge for his efforts – but was actually jailed by the U.S.… Read the rest