Another Whistleblower Offers to Help India With Black Money Probe

Whistleblowers are an arm of law enforcement, says whistleblower Bradely Birkenfeld.


As the government promises a new black money bill in the current Parliament session, a former employer of the world's largest private bank, UBS, has told NDTV he can give India valuable information for its black money probe.  

Bradely Birkenfeld, 50, the high-profile whistleblower, was rewarded $104 million by US authorities for revealing secrets of Swiss banking.

In an exclusive interview, Mr Birkenfeld told NDTV India should ask whistleblowers for advice on the new black money laws being planned. "Whistleblowers are an arm of law enforcement," Mr Birkenfeld told NDTV. "No one's going to argue that this is a bad thing except the people who are breaking the law".
Mr Birkenfeld said he'd like to help the Indian black money probe free of charge. "I welcome an invitation from the Indian government. I'm helping the French government and I've helped several other governments with respect to UBS."

Mr Birkenfeld, who was a director with UBS in Zurich in 2005, had reported illegal activity in the bank. His information on 19,000 clients who put away $19 billion had helped the US force Switzerland to break banking secrecy laws to give details on more than 4,500 American clients in 2009.

The event led to a huge debate across the world about banking secrecy that helps shield money laundering and tax evasion on an industrial scale.

In US courts, he admitted that he smuggled diamonds once for a client in a toothpaste tube, revealing how bankers often "shop" for ultra-rich clients and provide them with concierge-like services.

Mr Birkenfeld was sentenced to 40 months in jail as he was found guilty of withholding information about one of his former clients. But he was released early and is on parole until November 2015.

He was granted special permission to travel to France last week regarding a money laundering case against UBS.

UBS, Zurich has been in the news in India regarding jailed Pune businessman Hasan Ali, whose links to a Swiss bank account with a deposit of $8 billion were revealed after documents were found in a raid in 2007.

But tax authorities declared last year that the accounts had been emptied and the bank provided no information.

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