Hillary Intercedes to Prevent US Government Access to Foreign Bank Records

11 Apr

 

The Clintons and the sordid UBS affair

By Ernest A. Canning

Congress Blog

 

The story, as originally recounted by James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus of The Wall Street Journal, was, of itself, deeply troubling.  In March 2009, after meeting with Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, then Secretary of State Hillary Clintonintervened with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on behalf of Switzerland’s most powerful banking institution, UBS.  The IRS, which at that time was seeking the identity of wealthy Americans who had stashed some $20 billion in 52,000 tax evading UBS accounts, then agreed that the Swiss bank need only turn over information on 4,450 accounts.  Afterwards, UBS increased its previous $60,000 in donations to the Clinton Foundation ten-fold.  By the end of 2014, UBS donations to the Clinton Foundation totaled $600,000.  UBS also “paid former President Bill Clinton $1.5 million to participate in a series of question-and-answer sessions with UBS Wealth Management Chief Executive Bob McCann, making UBS his biggest single corporate source of speech income disclosed since he left the White House.”

 

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Those facts, of themselves, raise disturbing questions.  Did a bank that still ranks as “the world’s biggest wealth manager” and has at its disposal a bevy of economists and law firms have a legitimate reason for paying Bill Clinton $1.5 million in speaking fees? Or was the $1.5 million and the tenfold increase in Clinton Foundation donations a reward for the former secretary of State’s intervention?  If the latter, that reward would have, under federal law (18 U.S.C. § 201(c)(1)(A)), amounted to an illicit bribe.

But there’s a more troubling question that arises.  There can be little doubt that a media firestorm would ensue if a former president were to accept a lucrative speaking fee from the Mafia.  Should the reaction be any different when the speaking fee comes from “banksters” who defrauded the U.S. government?

That’s the true context here, according to a Feb. 18, 2009 U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) press release that discussed the details of an unsealed “criminal information” and a “deferred prosecution agreement.”  The DoJ alleges that UBS did much more than permit wealthy Americans to stash billions in tax evading offshore accounts.  In direct violation of a 2000 agreement with the IRS, Swiss bankers traveled to the U.S. 3,800 times to foster the elicit business and “used encrypted laptops and other counter-surveillance techniques to help prevent the detection of their marketing efforts and the identities and offshore assets of their U.S. clients”……………..

 

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Read More at Source: Hillary Intercedes to Prevent US Government Access to Foreign Bank Records

 

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