It is being reported in the Investment News that Igor Olenicoff, a wealthy real estate developer, has filed suit against UBS over his claim that the bank bears blame for his failure to declare $200 million in offshore accounts on U.S. tax returns.
According to the reports, Olenicoff pleaded guilty in 2007 to filing a false tax return, admitting he didn’t tell the Internal Revenue Service about his offshore accounts for seven years. He was sentenced to two years’ probation and ordered to pay $52 million in back taxes, fines and penalties.
The claim alleges that UBS traded excessively in his accounts, engaged in racketeering and committed fraud by not telling him he owed U.S. taxes.
Olenicoff also alleges that UBS “aggressively solicited” Olenicoff and promised his offshore money “would be absolutely protected in safe, legal, effective investment structures, which would not result in tax liability or reporting requirements until the money was repatriated,”
Olenicoff further claims UBS and Birkenfeld told him he didn’t have to report his Swiss income to the IRS, which was reinforced by the bank’s system of holding mail and not sending year-end tax information to him or the tax agency.
If the Judge lets the lawsuit go to trial on May 8 as scheduled, the case could offer new insights about Swiss bank secrecy and the tax strategy that was given by UBS to many of its high-net worth clients, including Olenicoff.
Jurors at a trial may also hear videotaped jailhouse testimony from former UBS banker, Bradley Birkenfeld. Birkenfeld is serving 40 months in a federal prison in Pennsylvania for helping Olenicoff and others evade taxes. At his sentencing, a prosecutor said Birkenfeld exposed a “massive tax scheme” at UBS.
In 2009, UBS avoided prosecution by paying $780 million, admitting it helped thousands of Americans evade taxes and turning over the names of 250 American clients to U.S. authorities. UBS later revealed another 4,450 accounts.
Prosecutors have since charged numerous taxpayers with tax evasion and sought monetary sanctions for failure to pay taxes.
The White Law Group is currently investigating claims against UBS regarding its tax strategy recommendations. Specifically, the firm is investigating whether the firm made misrepresentations to its clients regarding the legality of the proposed tax strategy in order to attract their investment funds. If it can be proven that UBS made misrepresentations regarding the tax strategy, the firm may be liable for the monetary sanctions and penalties its clients were forced to pay to the IRS.
If you have been forced to pay monetary sanctions to the IRS as a result of UBS’s tax strategy, please contact the securities attorneys of The White Law Group at 312/238-9650 for a free consultation.
The White Law Group, LLC is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, investor protection, and securities regulation/compliance law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Boca Raton, Florida.
For more information on The White Law Group, please visit our website at http://www.whitesecuritieslaw.com.