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Former UBS private banker indictment paves way for broad subpoenas

A Florida indictment of a former UBS private banker and his alleged associate in Liechtenstein paves the way for US prosecutors to subpoena the Swiss banking giant. Earlier this week former UBS private banker Bradley Birkenfeld and his alleged associate, Liechtenstein businessman Mario Staggl, were charged with conspiring to defraud the US by helping a US citizen conceal his ownership of offshore assets.

Since the disclosure of the indictment by Florida federal court prosecutors, the Wall Street Journal has reported that prosecutors intend to serve the Zurich-based bank with a broad subpoena for the names of wealthy US clients – which is likely to include many UHNW families – that could have used to bank to avoid income tax.

Birkenfeld is the latest casualty of a global trend to crack down on the offshore bank accounts of the world's richest citizens. In February, an investigation by the German government into the assets of its UHMW citizens began and there was also a crackdown on non-doms in the UK.

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