Former UBS Banker Bagios Said to Plan Guilty Plea
Christos Bagios, a former banker at UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) arrested amid a U.S. crackdown on offshore tax evasion, is set to plead guilty in federal court, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Bagios is set to appear today in West Palm Beach, Florida, at a change of plea hearing, where he will admit he conspired with five Swiss bankers to help Americans evade taxes between 1993 and 2009, said the person, who declined to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.
Bagios, a Greek citizen who lived in Switzerland, worked at UBS for 15 years before joining Credit Suisse in 2009. He was arrested on Jan. 26, 2011, at a Manhattan hotel. In a criminal complaint, the government said he conspired to help 150 American clients hide as much as $500 million from U.S. tax authorities in his time at UBS.
Bagios is one of about two dozen foreign bankers, lawyers or advisers charged since 2008 in the U.S. government’s crackdown on offshore tax evasion. Seven current or former Credit Suisse bankers were indicted last year. Prosecutors also have charged about 50 U.S. taxpayers. UBS, the largest Swiss bank, avoided prosecution by paying $780 million, admitting it helped Americans cheat on taxes, and turning over data on secret accounts.
At least 11 other banks are under criminal investigation.
On Oct. 16, prosecutors filed a charging document, known as an information, that stated Bagios helped nine clients who didn’t declare accounts to the Internal Revenue Service. Bagios and his coconspirators told clients “not to disclose their undeclared accounts at UBS AG (UBSN) and other banks to the U.S. government, including the IRS,” according to the information.
Bagios attorney Matthew Menchel declined to comment on today’s plea hearing. His client had previously pleaded not guilty. Alicia Valle, spokeswoman for the Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
On Nov. 2, Bagios filed a court motion seeking emergency travel documents so that he can renew his passport and leave the country as “soon as practicable” after resolution of his case.
Bagios, who is free on $650,000 bail, has “demonstrated that he is not a flight risk” during the past 20 months, according to court papers filed by his lawyers.
In that time, his Greek passport expired, and the Greek consulate said it wouldn’t help him get travel documents without permission of the court, according to the filing.
The case is U.S. v. Bagios, 12-cr-60260, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Fort Lauderdale).
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