Whistleblower windfall: US man gets $104m reward

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US employers who are working on the wrong side of the law have another 104 million reasons to worry about being tattled on - after a whistleblower got a record reward for revealing one big bank’s secrets.

Bradley Birkenfeld had a house in Switzerland, a BMW and a life of world travel.  All thanks to the help he gave to clients wanting to avoid paying taxes. And  now the US government has given the banking industry whistleblower $104m reward for his role in a prosecution that resulted in $780 million in fines for UBS.

Birkenfeld spent three years in prison and a halfway house for his role in UBS’ machinations to help wealthy clients avoid paying taxes, which included smuggling diamonds hidden inside a toothpaste tube. At the time the prosecution and sentence were criticized because without Birkenfeld’s information the UBS prosecution would never have happened,  but now the government faces criticism over paying out a convicted felon.

The moral of the story?  Make sure you stay on the right side of the law and you won’t have to worry about whether your workers might develop a conscience.



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