Feb 26 A former UBS AG banker pleaded
guilty on Wednesday to conspiring to defraud the United States
by helping wealthy Americans evade taxes.
Martin Lack, a 51-year-old Swiss resident, pleaded guilty in
federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to a single conspiracy
count in a 2011 indictment stemming from a broad U.S. probe of
offshore banking activities.
The plea marks the latest development in a series of U.S.
law enforcement actions that have resulted in charges against
nearly three dozen bankers and advisers.
Lack worked at UBS from the early 1990's until 2003,
according to the indictment, before founding his own investment
management firm, Lack & Partner Asset Management.
The indictment accused Lack of assisting U.S. customers in
opening and maintaining secret bank accounts at UBS and a Swiss
cantonal bank for the purpose of concealing income and assets
and filing false tax returns.
Prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence of five years
probation under a plea agreement with Lack, according his
Lack surrendered to U.S. authorities in October and is free
to return to Switzerland on $750,000 bail. Formal sentencing is
scheduled for May 7.
"Mr. Lack is eager to get these proceedings over with, to
resume his life with his family and have this matter put behind
him," his lawyer Peter Raben said in an interview.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice had no
Authorities in the United States are examining whether 14
Swiss banks had roles in helping potentially tens of thousands
of Americans avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.
In 2009, UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, agreed to pay $780
million and admit to helping Americans evade taxes, and it gave
names to U.S. authorities.
The U.S. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a
report on Tuesday saying Credit Suisse Group AG had
opened accounts for more than 22,000 U.S. customers with as much
as $12 billion in assets. A hearing was held on Wednesday.
Since 2009, the Justice Department has charged 73 taxpayers
and 35 bankers and advisers in a probe of offshore banking
Raoul Weil, the former head of wealth management at UBS, was
extradited to the United States in December to face a charge of
conspiracy to commit tax fraud. His trial is scheduled for Oct.
The case is U.S. v. Lack, U.S. District Court, Southern
District of Florida, No. 11-cr-60184.