Ex-UBS Banker Schumacher Avoids Prison in U.S. Tax Investigation

  • Banker pleaded guilty in April and cooperated with prosecutors
  • Schumacher testified at trial of ex-UBS banker Raoul Weil

Former UBS AG executive Hansruedi Schumacher, who pleaded guilty to helping Americans dodge taxes and testified at trial against his former boss, was sentenced to five years of probation by a judge who granted him leniency.

Schumacher, 57, was also fined $150,000 on Monday in federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he pleaded guilty April 2 to conspiracy. Schumacher was indicted in 2009 and declared a fugitive until he surrendered to U.S. authorities last year and chose to cooperate. He testified at trial against his former UBS boss, Raoul Weil, who was acquitted.

“Schumacher’s willingness to come forward and subject himself to U.S. jurisdiction and cooperate, when he had no pressure to do so, cannot be overvalued,” U.S. prosecutor Mark Daly wrote in a Sept. 28 memo to the sentencing judge. He cooperated “at great peril to himself,” exposing himself to prosecution in Switzerland under bank secrecy and economic espionage laws, Daly wrote.

After testifying at Weil’s trial, Schumacher also helped U.S. prosecutors investigating American taxpayers who hid assets from the Internal Revenue Service, Daly wrote. He is the seventh Swiss banking enabler who was convicted and sentenced. He faced as long as five years in prison.

Only one of the bankers got prison time, former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld, who was a whistle-blower. Three others avoided prosecution by cooperating.

Schumacher attorney Peter Raben said in a sentencing memo on Sept. 28 that his client could have stayed in Switzerland, where he wouldn’t have been extradited, and lived a “peaceful and anonymous existence among family and friends.”

Instead, he chose to cooperate, which meant he “risked the scorn of his fellow countrymen for betraying their arrogance; he risked ostracism, for himself and his family; he risked expulsion from the financial marketplace, and the loss of his career,” and he risked prosecution in Switzerland, Raben wrote.

Schumacher worked from 1994 until 2002 at UBS, where he once ran the cross-border business. He then joined Neue Zuercher Bank, working there until his indictment.

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