Find Post Investigations On:
Facebook Scribd Twitter
Friendfeed RSS Google Reader
» About This Blog | Meet the Investigative Team | Subscribe
Ongoing Investigation

Top Secret America

The Post explores the top secret world the government created in response to the attacks of Sept. 11.

Ongoing Investigation

The Hidden Life of Guns

How guns move through American society, from store counter to crime scene.

Have a Tip?

Talk to Us

If you have solid tips, news or documents on potential ethical violations or abuses of power, we want to know. Send us your suggestions.
• E-mail Us


Post Investigations
In-depth investigative news
and multimedia from The Washington Post.
• Special Reports
• The Blog

Reporters' Notebook
An insider's guide to investigative news: reporters offer insights on their stories.

The Daily Read
A daily look at investigative news of note across the Web.

Top Picks
A weekly review of the best
in-depth and investigative reports from across the nation.

Hot Documents
Court filings, letters, audits and other documents of interest.

D.C. Region
Post coverage of investigative news in Maryland, Virginia and the District.

Washington Watchdogs
A periodic look into official government investigations.

Help! What Is RSS?
Find out how to follow Post Investigations in your favorite RSS reader.

Hot Comments

Unfortunately I believe that we are limited in what we can focus on. I think that if we proceed with the partisan sideshow of prosecuting Bush admin. officials, healthcare will get lost in the brouhaha.
— Posted by denamom, Obama's Quandary...

Recent Posts
Bob Woodward

The Washington Post's permanent investigative unit was set up in 1982 under Bob Woodward.

See what you missed, find what you're looking for.
Blog Archive »
Investigations Archive »

Have a Tip?
Send us information on ethics violations or abuses of power.
E-Mail Us »

Notable investigative projects from other news outlets.
On the Web »
Top Picks »

The Swiss Banker and 'Toxic Waste'

POSTED: 06:30 PM ET, 11/12/2008 by Derek Kravitz

The indictment of a senior executive at the Swiss bank UBS is part of a larger clash between the U.S. government and the tradition of secrecy that has been central to Switzerland's lucrative banking industry, The Post's David S. Hilzenrath reports.

And some Swiss officials expect the pressure on their country to intensify under president-elect Barack Obama.

Raoul Weil, who turns 49 tomorrow, is accused of working with other senior bank managers to hide roughly $20 billion in assets of American clients from the Internal Revenue Service (statement). He dubbed the scheme "toxic waste," according to federal prosecutors, and the dealings netted the bank an estimated $200 million per year in revenue between 2002 and 2007.

The Financial Times said the indictment was UBS' "heaviest blow yet." The International Herald-Tribune said the Department of Justice's decision to charge Weil "significantly ramps up the pressure on UBS," which is already facing questions about its potential dealings with clients who wanted to hide their assets in offshore accounts.

The case comes several months after another former UBS banker, Bradley C. Birkenfeld, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to assist his American clients who avoided paying federal income and other taxes to the IRS.

UBS was alerted at least three years ago to possible violations of United States securities laws, according to internal letters reviewed by The New York Times. (BusinessWeek sent its own reporter to Zurich to meet with UBS executives to discuss how to invest $15 million. One of the executives, who is now under investigation, told the reporter: What the client wants, the client gets.)

Earlier this week, UBS announced that it had given the authorities details about U.S. bank accounts as part of the tax probe, though not about Swiss-based accounts, Reuters reported. U.S. officials have obtained the names of about 70 American clients of the banking giant.

"Swiss banking secrecy is always under pressure but banking secrecy is secured internationally," said Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz, adding that the government was "well prepared" to protect the law, according to

By Derek Kravitz |  November 12, 2008; 6:30 PM ET
Previous: Court Rules Against Bush on Missing E-Mails | Next: Bailout Lacks Oversight, Spam Host Shut Down, Rezko Denied New Trial


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Does the Washington Post give the client what the client wants?
While having sympathy with the idea of bringing light into possible illegal activities of the UBS, the way the Washington Post is quoting UBS executives in this article may be a bit deceptive and misleading. The quote "What the client wants, the client gets", was not referring to "possible violations of US securites laws", but rather to buying wineyards or other unusual "old-economy" assets private clients can imagine of.

Posted by: tadju | November 13, 2008 2:39 AM

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining


© 2010 The Washington Post Company