Friday, June 28, 2013

Julius Baer Retired Banker Pleads to FBAR Crime (6/28/13)

Pius Kampfen, a Julius Baer retired banker and resident of California, pled today to "an information charging him with willful failure to file the required reports of foreign bank accounts (FBAR) for a Swiss bank account he controlled."  The DOJ press release is here.  The charging information is here.

Key facts:

Defendant:  Pius Kampfen.
Count of Conviction (by information and plea):  FBAR Willful failure to file.
Maximum incarceration period:  5 years.
FBAR Penalty:  $1,465,393 (How calculated is not provided).
Entity:  Yes.
Banks:  UBS AG, Pictet & Cie, ABN-AMRO, Bank Vontobel and Baumann & Cie. (The quote in the opening paragraph indicates one bank account on the count of conviction; it is not clear which one of these relates to the count of conviction).
Admits:  Tax noncompliance on accounts and failure to file FBAR.

JAT comment:  Everyone watching the Swiss-U.S. spat knows that Julius Baer is a target of the U.S. angst over Swiss bank misbehavior.  Apparently Mr. Kampfen has the characteristics that would get the IRS's and DOJ Tax's attention anyway.  But the fact that he was a Julius Baer banker and perhaps even an enabler as well made likely him particularly attractive for the U.S. to send a signal to Switzerland.

There is a web page for Kampfen Investment Services, here.  The "about" page says:
Prior to forming the firm, Kampfen spent 17 years as the Senior Representative for Julius Baer Group on the US West Coast, a Swiss bank specializing in private banking and global and international money management for high net worth individuals, foundations and private corporations. Prior to joining Julius Baer, he worked for over 20 years for other Swiss financial corporations, including Union Bank of Switzerland, where he served as a portfolio manager for international clients.

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