The Swiss bank Union Bancaire Privee has agreed to pay the U.S. Justice Department almost $188 million to avoid prosecution for helping U.S. citizens avoid paying taxes. Former stockbroker Jordan Belfort, made famous by the movie The Wolf of Wall street, used the Swiss bank to hide money and avoid paying taxes according to his memoirs.
The bank eliminated the paper trail to undeclared accounts through gold and cash withdrawals, travel cash cards and credit cards, and by withholding mail or obscuring identities through code names, according to the accord. UBP bankers helped U.S. clients repatriate cash in amounts below the $10,000 level that triggers reporting requirements, according to the accord. In one case, the bank helped an American client transfer $72,000 from his Swiss account to his brother, who then moved it in nine transfers to the customer’s U.S. account.