Bradley Birkenfeld, the whistleblower in a tax fraud case against Swiss bank UBS AG, was awarded a record-setting $104 million reward from the IRS. Birkenfeld learned about the inner workings of UBS as an employee of the company and supplied many secrets about his former employer’s dealings with U.S. clients. Despite this, he was jailed after the government said that he withheld other information. He spent 30 months in prison as a result and was only released from prison last month. He is now living in New Hampshire under home confinement at a friend’s estate.
1. After paying taxes and legal fees on the $104 million reward, how much will Mr. Birkenfeld have? What percentage is this of the original reward?
2. To settle the case, UBS paid fines, penalties, interest and restitution of how much? How would this be recorded in the financial statements of UBS?
3. What was the return to the IRS for the information that Mr. Birkenfeld provided? Do you agree or disagree with the reward in this case? Why or why not?
CNBC Video (2012). Whistleblower Gets $104 Million Payout from IRS. Sep. 11 (Retrievable online at http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000115258#)
Temple-West, P. and L. Browning. (2012). Whistleblower in UBS tax case gets record $104 million. Reuters.com, Sep. 11 (Retrievable online at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/11/us-usa-tax-birkenfeld-idUSBRE88A0TE20120911)