Ex-UBS Client Roessel Pleads Guilty in Offshore Tax Case

Former UBS AG (UBS) client Wolfgang Roessel pleaded guilty to failing to report more than $11 million in Swiss accounts to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Roessel, 72, admitted today in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that he filed a false tax return for 2007 and failed to file Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or FBARs, from 2002 to 2007. He agreed to pay a civil FBAR penalty of $5.75 million as well as taxes due of $312,803.

He is helping prosecutors in a crackdown on offshore tax evasion. U.S. prosecutors have charged almost 50 U.S. taxpayers with tax crimes since 2009, when UBS avoided prosecution by paying $780 million, admitting it helped thousands of Americans evade taxes and turning over the names of 250 American clients to U.S. authorities. UBS later revealed another 4,450 accounts.

Roessel, who is retired, ran a company that made cameras, and he holds several patents, said his lawyer, Lee Stapleton, after he appeared in court on April 10. Roessel, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Germany, was charged April 3. Stapleton declined to comment today after the hearing.

Roessel deposited foreign proceeds from his business into accounts he held accounts at Wegelin & Co. and another Swiss bank not identified in statement today by the U.S. Justice Department. Wegelin, the 270-year-old bank, was indicted in New York on Feb. 2 and became the first Swiss lender charged in the offshore crackdown.

The case is U.S. v. Roessel, 12-cr-60074, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Fort Lauderdale).

To contact the reporters on this story: Susannah Nesmith in Miami at susannahnesmith@yahoo.com; David Voreacos in Newark at dvoreacos@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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