Interview with Bradley Birkenfeld – The Biggest Whistleblower in History
Loudspeakers boomed StoneBridge feat. Therese´s hit single “Take Me Away (StoneBridge & Damien Hall 2018 Mix)” as Bradley Birkenfeld stepped onto a low-slung dais in the Big Room of the d10e, the leading conference on decentralization, as the Opening Keynote Speaker. Bradley Birkenfeld was greeted by spontaneous applause and with great enthusiasm.
Bradley Birkenfeld, a former UBS AG banker, who in 2012 got a record $104 million award from an Internal Revenue Service whistleblower program, (under the IRS whistleblower program which was revamped in 2006, informants are entitled to a percentage of the dollars recovered by the US government when fraud is exposed), revealed in detail the inner workings of the secretive private wealth management division of the Swiss bank in his book “Lucifer’s Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy.” Bradley Birkenfeld provided informations that led the Swiss bank to pay a $780 million U.S. fine in 2010 for helping about ca. 19,000 wealthy Americans hide up to $20 billion in secret bank accounts.
Bradley Birkenfeld will forever go down in history as the man who brought down the Swiss banking secrecy. The information Bradley Birkenfeld provided to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), to investigators from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Treasury and U.S. Senate, would set off cascading criminal investigations and within few years, it would bring down the entire U.S. cross-border banking division of the Swiss bank and the Swiss banking secrecy.
Never in the 150-year history of the Swiss bank had an insider turned on the bank, as it opened the doors to justice department scrutiny of the operations of the Swiss Bank(s), but nevertheless the Federal Judge William Zloch sentenced Bradley Birkenfeld to three years and four months in federal prison. Bradley Birkenfeld was sentenced for conspiring to defraud the United States by helping a billionaire U.S. real estate developer create sham corporations and entities to hide $200 million in assets from U.S. tax authorities. But he had been credited with providing information in a sweeping U.S. investigation of the Swiss Bank over its private banking business, involving wealthy Americans who used their Swiss bank accounts to hide money overseas to evade taxes.
“I took on the biggest bank in the world and brought them down, and I took on the biggest government in the world and exposed their corruption, and I’m being rewarded with jail,” he said to Rich TVX. He added, “I would do it again.”
A big-budget movie about Bradley Birkenfeld´s life is in the pipeline. At least three major studios are locked in a bidding war over rights to a biopic about the world’s biggest whistleblower. A senior production source predicted the planned movie about Bradley Birkenfeld´s life will be a hit. “He is a global bestseller and it will become a must-see movie for millions of readers of “Lucifer’s Banker.”
Rich TVX charts the real story behind Bradley Birkenfeld – the Biggest Whistleblower in History: the secret deals, the huge cash flows through the offshore archipelagos, the tax investigations, and the duels with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
“Lucifer’s Banker” by Bradley Birkenfeld, however, is more than how one man took on the biggest bank in the world and brought them down. It is also about “follow the money” investigation that reveals how he has managed to have such a huge impact on the Swiss banking system, that promises to utterly transform the whole banking in the twenty-first century.
This is the interview with the man who has threatened, and spooked the Swiss banking scene, whose titanic actions have shaped and reshaped the banking landscape. Win or lose, Bradley Birkenfeld is the man who has changed everything. Rich TVX reveals what no news outlet ever has about the man who is probarly the most significant whistleblower in history. This world exclusive interview with Bradley Birkenfeld is a wild, raucous, true tale that will entertain you even as it shocks you.
I took on the biggest bank in the world and brought them down, and I took on the biggest government in the world and exposed their corruption, and I’m being rewarded with jail. Bradley Birkenfeld – d10e, 2018
(This is a transcript of an interview with Bradley Birkenfeld – done by RichTVX.com – June 2018)
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview are those of Bradley Birkenfeld and do not necessarily reflect those of RichTVX.com.
Can you tell us a little about your background before you worked for the bank?
Bradley Birkenfeld: I attended the oldest private military school in the United States (Norwich University) and I passed my ROTC training as well as graduated with a BS in Economics. I studied my last semester of college in London to continue my economic studies. After graduation, I worked for State Street Global Advisors in Boston as a currency trader and handled all credit trading facilities, cash management program and spot/forward heading for institutional pension funds. I left SSgA after 4 years and went to Switzerland to pursue further academic pursuits by graduating with an international MBA. While in school in Switzerland, I was given a contract and a work permit at Credit Suisse Private Banking in Geneva.
One of the things our readers are going to be most interested in, is trying to understand who you are and is there something unique about you or your family background that made it more likely for you to come forward as a whistleblower?
Bradley Birkenfeld: I am the youngest of three boys brought up in a wonderful family with my mother looking after us (retired nurse) and my father a practicing neurosurgeon. We had great friends and studied hard at school.
I attended a private day school where I met a wide variety of friends in small school community (who are still friends today). I played football and ice hockey in school, which was always competitive and tough. I enjoyed working in my summers first as a Teamster member moving furniture and then I worked summers at State Street Bank.
The accusations you have leveled are against the Swiss banking system. Why did you work in that field at all?
Bradley Birkenfeld: The private banking industry in Switzerland was thriving and after I had exposed SSgA in Boston for serious illegal conduct by going to the FBI, it was apparent I would need to leave the USA. Swiss banking was an interesting field to compliment my investment banking experience and I worked hard to develop a variety of skills and experience that were beneficial to the banks and my clients alike. Unfortunately, UBS was so greedy and lied to me and my colleagues that is when the problems started.
- Bradley Birkenfeld will forever go down in history as the man who brought down the Swiss banking secrecy.
- I.R.S. Awards $104 Million to Bradley Birkenfeld.
- A big-budget movie about Bradley Birkenfeld´s life is in the pipeline.
What are some of the positions that you held previously within the Swiss bank?
Bradley Birkenfeld: Senior Private Banker, and Director.
Was there a particular moment when you decided you needed to go public?
Bradley Birkenfeld: My colleague brought a three page document to me (buried in our intranet) that was essentially contradicting everything we were doing and I made sure I was going to document this to compliance and legal departments as a Director of UBS. I utilized the services of a great and honest reporter at the Financial Times in Zurich (Haig Simonian). He was a perfect outlet to get my message out as I could not trust UBS, the US DOJ or anyone else to ensure the truth was told.
Did you had any fears about how going public might affect your family or friends?
Bradley Birkenfeld: I was determined to do the right thing and expose the decades-long illegal behavior going on at UBS. This inevitably would cause attention and criticism of my friends and colleagues but most people saw my historic efforts as a great win for the American people.
What is the Swiss government and banking scene’s response to your conduct in terms of what they might say about you, or what they might try to do to you?
Bradley Birkenfeld: UBS and the Swiss banking industry are furious and will never admit what I did was in the best interest of ethics, humanity and justice. They are deeply conflicted because they have been milking this Swiss cash cow for far too long and now they have to compete on a level playing field with every other banker in the world. The Swiss bankers are like alcoholics that CANNOT admit they have a drinking problem. They can try to do whatever they want but they better be well advised and careful that I can do much more damage to them than they can to me.
Do you feel personally in danger?
Bradley Birkenfeld: I do not and I have many defenses put in place from security personnel to alarm/camera systems to a savvy sense of what to do and where to go. I have many friends around the world who also support and advise me.
What surprised you most about being charged and subsequently being detained?
Bradley Birkenfeld: The outright level of corruption within the Department of Justice and Obama administration.
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