Current Affairs
In Malta to recount how he turned whistleblower from banker and ended in prison

One of the greatest whistleblowers in the banking history, Bradley Birkenfeld, is in Malta to recount his story which in 2015 led to the dismantling of the wall of secrecy wall at the banking sector – a system which was principally aimed at tax evasion.

Former banker Bradley Birkenfeld, who was the whistleblower who uncovered intrigues of the Swiss bank UBS which used to assist clients to evade millions of dollars in taxes, said he couldn’t ignore the situation whereby the bank was breaching legislation. He added that his complaints with the legal and compliance departments of the bank were ignored. This led to his resignation as a bank manager and went to the United States where he revealed to authorities what was happening.

“You have not only a legal issue but an ethical issue, Birkenfeld reiterated as his action led to a turmoil in the secrecy with which the Swiss banks operated. This led UBS to pay $780 million in fines and penalties according to an agreement between the bank and the U.S. justice department in February of 2009. He said that with the agreement amnesties were given to 14,700 clients who admitted in the investigations that they had secret accounts to evade tax.

In September 2012, Birkenfeld was awarded compensation of $104 million for damages after in August two years before, he was sentenced to forty months in prison and fined $30,000 for revealing bank secrets.

“I can’t be concerned with people not liking me, of course they don’t like me, they’re certainly lawyers and bankers and trust officers who don’t like me, but they have to understand, the game’s over,” Birkenfeld stated. “The free ride has been going on for too long and its time to change, and the world’s changing and we need this, we need the change to happen globally.”

Birkenfeld is in Malta to launch a publication on his voyage from a banker to whistleblower. He said that he documented his experience to encourage those who find themselves in similar situation so that they will not fear to speak the truth and assist authorities commit justice.

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