Friday, April 2, 2010

Swiss Claim No Proof to Chernick's Bribery Claim

I have previously posted on the Chernick plea for offshore bank tax shennanigans here. One of his claims in plea and sentencing process was that a bribe was paid to a Swiss government official

Tax Notes Today has a press release from the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (in German here) announcing conclusion of an investigation of Chernick's claim. See 2010 TNT 63-30.  I haven't been able to find an English version on the web yet (other than on Tax Notes Today), but here is a summary with actual excerpts from TNT indicated by quotes:

1. Chernick's Claim: "that in response to increasing pressure applied by the US justice authorities on UBS in the summer of 2008, he had arranged for USD 45,000 to be paid via his attorney and a Swiss bank executive to a Swiss government official in return for information on the US administrative assistance proceedings, and in particular on whether his UBS accounts were under investigation by the US Internal Revenue Service."

2. The Investigation: "Chernick's contacts in Switzerland were questioned in detail on the allegations made. In addition, a reconstruction was made of relevant money transfers. It emerged that although a related transfer had been made at the critical time to the Swiss attorney, the attorney was able to explain the transaction and provide proof that the money had been used legitimately. Chernick was also interviewed in the USA in the course of mutual assistance proceedings. He was, however, neither able to provide details of anyone who may have received bribes nor to give any further relevant information that could have substantiated the allegations."

3. The Conclusion: "The investigations of the previous months have failed to disclose any specific indications of criminal conduct or more particularly bribery within the Swiss Federal Administration. Accordingly, the OAG has abandoned the criminal proceedings in accordance with Art. 106 of the Federal Criminal Justice Act."

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