Leading national and international anti-corruption groups have joined the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) in a clemency campaign on behalf of UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld. In an open letter President Barack Obama, the groups request a presidential pardon for Mr. Birkenfeld, or commutation of his prison sentence to time served to “reverse the devastating impact Mr. Birkenfeld’s case will have on international law enforcement efforts.“
Mr. Birkenfeld blew the whistle on UBS bank in Switzerland, exposing a $20 billion tax scheme involving illegal, offshore bank accounts. Despite the government’s acknowledgement that the multi-billion dollar UBS tax fraud scheme would have continued undetected without Mr. Birkenfeld’s voluntary disclosure, Mr. Birkenfeld commenced serving a 3-year, 4-month prison sentence on January 8, 2010.
The letter states points out that “in return for his extraordinary cooperation with the U.S. government, Mr. Birkenfeld remains the only banker involved the in the largest illegal tax scheme in history to receive a prison sentence,” and advises that “great importance must be placed on the public policy implications of Mr. Birkenfeld’s case, international bankers must be able to come forward to report illegal practices like those exposed by Mr. Birkenfeld.“
Lindsey M. Williams, Director of Advocacy and Development, National Whistleblowers Center, said, “Sadly, saving the American taxpayers billions of dollars was not enough to save Mr. Birkenfeld’s freedom. A presidential pardon is the only way to correct this injustice.”