Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Revenge of the Swiss Banks

The Colombia-born son of Jewish refugees from Hitler's Austria offered the IRS a novel excuse for his squirreling away $10 million in untaxed taxable income with Switzerland's UBS bank. While the judge made respectful noises about the plea of irrepressible hoarding brought on by fear of governmental expropriation such as accompanied the Holocaust his parents escaped, he nonetheless threw the book at Jack Barouh with fines and a ten-month prison sentence.

Barouh's case reminded me of the 1999 extortion by the World Jewish Congress and other claimants of $1.25 billion from the banks of Switzerland to get the JWC to call off the boycott of Swiss banks then spearheaded by New York State Comptroller Allan Hevesi and New York Congressman Alfonse d'Amato. This article notes that Barouh's name was among some 4,450 names of Americans turned over to the IRS by UBS Bank.

I can't help wondering, as UBS violated the promise of secrecy that once was its stock in trade, whether they considered that the names of more than one supporter or beneficiary of the 1999 extortion might have been among those they were turning over. Of course, I don't even know whether Barouh was in fact a supporter or beneficiary of the extortion, but there are those other 4,449 names . . .

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