Ex-UBS Client Richard Werdiger Pleads Guilty to Tax Crime

Richard Werdiger, a former UBS AG (UBSN) client, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the U.S. Internal Revenue Service by hiding more than $7.1 million in the Swiss bank.

Werdiger, 63, pleaded guilty in a hearing in Manhattan federal court today, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. As part of the guilty plea, Werdiger agreed to pay a $3.5 million civil penalty.

Werdiger was one of seven former UBS AG clients accused of hiding more than $100 million from U.S. tax authorities in offshore accounts. The charges were part of an IRS crackdown on offshore tax evasion.

Werdiger faces as many as 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced June 14, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Prosecutors claimed that from 1986 to 2000, Werdiger opened three UBS accounts through sham entities in Panama and Liechtenstein, and communicated with the Zurich-based bank using the code name “Trygon.” By 2003, his accounts totaled $7 million, according to the government.

UBS avoided U.S. prosecution in 2009 by paying $780 million, turning over the names of U.S. account holders and admitting that it helped Americans hide assets from the IRS.

The case is U.S. v. Werdiger, 10-cr-325, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net

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