Ex-UBS client in NJ pleads guilty in IRS tax case
NEW YORK |
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former UBS AG client in New Jersey who once played for the Soviet Union's national soccer team pleaded guilty on Thursday to concealing $2.6 million he had held in an offshore account from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
At a hearing in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, Leonid Zaltsberg admitted to filing a false 2003 tax return, and failing to properly report his transfer of funds to a Panamanian account that he set up in 2000 with help from a Swiss banker and non-U.S. lawyer.
The Milltown resident agreed to pay a $1.3 million penalty, and could face as much as three years in prison when he is sentenced on November 17 by U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler. Zaltsberg, a U.S. citizen, was released on $750,000 bond.
"He is sincerely remorseful, and knows that he made a terrible mistake," James DiPietro, a lawyer for Zaltsberg, said in an interview.
Federal sentencing guidelines recommend a 12- to 18-month prison term, and DiPietro said: "I'll be making every effort humanly possible to get him a sentence without prison time."
DiPietro said Zaltsberg is 76, has bladder and prostate cancer, and has no prior criminal history. Federal records say the defendant is 75.
In February 2009, UBS admitted to criminal wrongdoing for helping U.S. clients evade taxes. It also agreed to hand over details to U.S. investigators on more than 250 client accounts, including Zaltsberg's, and pay a $780 million penalty.
Then in August, UBS agreed to turn over names of 4,450 wealthy U.S. clients to federal tax investigators.
Several individual former UBS clients in the United States have pleaded guilty to tax evasion since the original UBS accord. Some were sentenced to prison and others to probation.
DiPietro said Zaltsberg played for the Soviet national soccer team in the 1960s, played in the World Cup, and now advises the Ukrainian national team.
The case is U.S. v. Zaltsberg, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Gerald E. McCormick)
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