Looks like it is really hard to prove individual culpability for conspiracy when a banker’s employer was aiding tax evasion. (I don’t use the word alleged in a sentence saying a bank committed a crime because UBS has already ‘fessed up and paid a $780,000,000 fine.)
11/4 – Wall Street journal – Acquittal in UBS Case Sets Back Tax Probe – A senior executive of UBS was on trial for allegedly helping Americans evade income taxes. The feds alleged that the banker ran a conspiracy to launder money and evade taxes, with said conspiracy involving cloak and dagger techniques to hide from authorities that the bank was knowingly and intentionally laundering money for its clients.
Didn’t turn out well for those who want to see a new federal penitentiary built to hold all the bankers who belong in jail.
Took three years to build the case before this banker was even indicted.
Took three weeks to present the case.
Case was so weak that the defense did not even call any witnesses.
Jury deliberated for a mere hour before returning a not guilty verdict.
The jury didn’t believe the witnesses or the electronic evidence.
Not guilty in an hour.
11/5 -WSJ – U.S. Tax Task Toughens (how’s that for a great alliteration that squeezes the headline into two columns?)- Ten of the 12 jurors were ready to acquit before deliberations even started. That shows how weak the case was.
It took an hour in the jury room to change the minds of the remaining two jurors. That shows again the weakness of the case.
The article says this may give pause to the feds as they figure out how to proceed on other criminal prosecutions.
The banker was in charge of all U.S. operations for UBS. One of their services was laundering huge amounts of money to allow clients to evade taxes. UBS already acknowledged their involvement. The existence of the money laundering and tax evasion scheme isn’t disputed.
This was the highest level person charged for any crime in the wake of the financial crisis.
Seems to me after reading bits of the case that putting this banker in jail would have been a slam dunk.
Yet the feds couldn’t get a conviction. There wasn’t even a serious debate in the jury room.
Keep this case in mind for the next time you hear someone asking for heads on a pike and bodies in jail for horrid behavior.
All the power of the federal government didn’t deliver on what seems to be an easy case.
Also seems to me that proving criminal behavior in this tax evasion case would be a lot easier than any of the other fiascos in the news.