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Guilty plea may aid tax evasion case

MIAMI — A former UBS executive is scheduled to plead guilty next month in a U.S. tax case that is part of a wide-ranging probe into whether the Swiss banking giant helped wealthy clients hide assets and evade taxes.

Federal prosecutors announced Thursday that a change of plea hearing is set for June 9 for 43-year-old Bradley Birkenfeld. Birkenfeld had pleaded not guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States, which carries a potential five-year prison term.

It wasn't clear if Birkenfeld plans a plea agreement that includes a promise to cooperate with investigators.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta declined further comment. Birkenfeld's attorney, Peter Raben, did not immediately respond to messages.

The hearing is set in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.

Birkenfeld worked for Zurich's UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, from 2001 to 2006. Prosecutors say he helped California real estate magnate Igor Olenicoff hide millions in assets and evade the IRS.

Olenicoff, whose fortune is estimated at $1.6-billion by Forbes magazine, pleaded guilty last year to tax charges and agreed to pay the IRS more than $52-million in back taxes, penalties and interest.

Guilty plea may aid tax evasion case 05/29/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 4:44pm]
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