Ex-Boeing manager pleads guilty in UBS tax case

October 5, 2009

The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen at the company's office at the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich July 1, 2009. UBS could still settle a damaging U.S. tax case even though Washington is pushing ahead with a lawsuit to force the Swiss bank giant to identify clients, the Swiss Finance Minister said.   REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann (SWITZERLAND BUSINESS IMAGES OF THE DAY) By Kim Dixon
WASHINGTON, Oct 5 (Reuters) – A retired sales manager for airplane maker Boeing Co on Monday pleaded guilty to hiding nearly $2 million in Swiss UBS AG accounts, as the United States pursues Americans illegally stashing funds abroad to avoid taxes.

Roberto Cittadini was accused of filing a false tax return omitting that he had an interest in or control over accounts at UBS, as well as failing to report income from the accounts, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

He allegedly hid the funds with the help of a Swiss banker, Hansruedi Schumaker, a man U.S. prosecutors in August charged with helping Americans hide their assets from U.S. tax authorities.

Cittadini faces up to three years in jail, up to a $250,000 fine and a civil penalty equal to 50 percent of the highest account balance between 2001 and 2007, the department said. He will be sentenced in January.

His plea is the seventh so far involving the government’s case against UBS, stemming from a February settlement in which the giant Swiss bank paid the U.S. government $780 million.

UBS, as part of that deal, admitted that it actively took part in a scheme to defraud the United States by actively helping U.S. citizens conceal their accounts.

UBS also handed over the names of about 250 accounts of American clients. About 150 of those have been farmed out to prosecutors across the country to potentially bring to trial. In a separate settlement, UBS in August agreed to turn over details of another 4,450 accounts of Americans.

“Individuals all over the country who are hiding income and assets in offshore accounts would be well-advised to promptly come in and come clean before the government learns about their accounts through other channels,” John DiCicco, the acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, said in a statement.

A tax amnesty program offered by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service runs through Oct. 15 for Americans to confess to secret accounts hidden overseas.

The case is United States of America v Roberto Cittadini, No. CR 09-0344.

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Gerald E. McCormick)

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/