California lawyer sentenced to prison time in tax dodge case -U.S.

WASHINGTON, March 19 Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:33pm EDT

WASHINGTON, March 19 (Reuters) - California lawyer Christopher Rusch has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for helping Americans hide millions of dollars in Swiss bank accounts to avoid U.S. taxes.

The U.S. Department of Justice said late on Tuesday that Rusch had testified against two American clients, saying he brought money into the United States from their undeclared bank accounts to help them buy a golf course in Colorado.

Rusch, of San Diego, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and failing to report foreign assets. He admitted to helping two clients hide more than $6.6 million at Swiss banks UBS AG and Pictet & Cie, the department said.

Rusch was arrested in Miami in 2012 after being expelled from Panama at the request of the United States.

" is looking forward to putting this chapter of his life behind him," his lawyer Michael Lipman said on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Pictet declined to comment on the case, but said the bank is complying with the law. A UBS spokesman declined to comment.

Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice has brought charges against 35 bankers with crimes related to tax evasion and six have pleaded guilty. (Reporting by Patrick Temple-West Additional reporting by Katharina Bart in Zurich; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Grant McCool)

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