The Justice Department today announced that a senior Swiss banker has been indicted on charges of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government by helping about 20,000 U.S. clients hide $20 billion in assets from the Internal Revenue Service.
The indictment of Raoul Weil alleged that he conspired with a host of others at his bank, overseeing a business that employed encrypted laptops, numbered accounts and counter-surveillance techniques to help American clients conceal their identities and evade taxes.
Weil oversaw the bank’s cross-border business that catered to U.S. clients, generating about $200 million a year in revenue for the bank, the Justice Department said in a news release.
The announcement did not name the bank, describing it only as a large Swiss bank with offices worldwide.
A report on UBS’s Web site says an executive name Raoul Weil was head of UBS’s wealth management international business between 2002 and 2007. The indictment says the Raoul Weil charged in the case was head of the unnamed Swiss bank’s wealth management business from 2002 through 2007.
Weil was named chairman and chief executive of UBS’s global wealth management and business banking operations in 2007, the UBS site said.
Other bank executives “at the highest levels of management” are unindicted co-conspirators, according to the indictment.
The action announced today is part of a larger clash between the U.S. government and the tradition of secrecy that has been central to Switzerland’s lucrative banking industry.