WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld has been given the putative largest whistleblower reward ever by the Internal Revenue Service.
Tuesday, it was revealed that he will receive $104 million for informing the U.S. Government about his former employer's illegal offshore banking. This is the first major reward issued under the IRS tax whistleblower law.
Birkenfeld provided information that the IRS had been unable to detect. He furnished what was described as "comprehensive information" that was "exceptional in both its breadth and depth."
Although the IRS was aware of allegedly secret bank accounts in Switzerland, the information provided by the Birkenfeld led to "unprecedented actions against UBS."
Ultimately, Birkenfeld's disclosures directly resulted in a fine paid to the U.S. by UBS bank in the amount of $780 million; more than 35,000 taxpayers participating in "amnesty" programs to voluntarily repatriate their offshore accounts; and the collection of over $5 billion in back taxes, fines and penalties.
The Swiss government also changed its tax treaty with the United States. UBS gave the federal government the names of more than 4,900 U.S. taxpayers who held offshore accounts. They are now being investigated and prosecuted.