U.S. Charges 3 Swiss Bankers

January 4, 2012

The New York Times on January 3, 2012 released the following:

By REUTERS

“United States prosecutors charged three Swiss bankers on Tuesday of conspiring with wealthy American taxpayers to hide more than $1.2 billion in assets from tax authorities.

The office of the Manhattan United States attorney said in a statement that the indictment accused the bankers of trying to “capture business lost by UBS A.G. and another large international Swiss bank in the wake of widespread news reports that the Internal Revenue Service was investigating UBS” in 2008 and 2009.

Neither the international Swiss bank nor the other purported co-conspirators were identified by prosecutors.

The three bankers worked as client advisers at a Zurich bank branch and hid certain Swiss bank accounts and the income they had generated, prosecutors said. They did not identify the bank branch.

The indictment filed in United States District Court in New York identified the three bankers as Michael Berlinka, Urs Frei and Roger Keller. It said they all lived in Switzerland. Their lawyers were not immediately known.

If convicted, the bankers face a maximum prison term of five years under the conspiracy charge.”

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Alleged Iran plot may have violated UN treaty

October 13, 2011

The Jerusalem Post on October 13, 2011 released the following:

“By REUTERS

Treaty forbids attacking diplomats; US, Saudi Arabia can bring case before Security Council, International Criminal Court, Interpol.

An alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States may have violated a UN treaty protecting diplomats and could escalate the crisis to an international court.

US authorities have arrested Iranian-American Manssor Arbabsiar for the alleged plot and accused a second Iranian man, Gholam Shakuri, who is believed to be at large in Iran and a member of the country’s elite Quds Force.

If they were involved in a plot to kill Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir, that would likely violate the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons.

The treaty, which Iran signed in 1978, would require Tehran to consider prosecuting Shakuri in its court system or extradite him to a requesting country, potentially the United States or Saudi Arabia, both longtime foes.

An important sticking point to any prosecution or extradition is that Iran has fiercely denied the allegations and is unlikely to turn Shakuri over to any country.

“This is one of those areas where there’s not really too much fuzziness. It’s very clear that these kind of people (diplomats), these kind of officials, they’re immune from attack,” said David Kaye, executive director of the UCLA School of Law’s International Human Rights Law Program.

Jubeir was named Saudi ambassador to the United States in early 2007 after serving in the embassy in Washington. He is considered a close adviser to Saudi King Abdullah, a key US ally in the volatile and oil-rich Middle East region.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a point on Wednesday of noting that Iran had agreed to the UN treaty.

“This kind of reckless act undermines international norms and the international system. Iran must be held accountable for its actions,” she said.

Two options

The United States has two options if Iran officially rejects the case, including pursuing action at the UN Security Council. That was done when Libya refused to hand over two men accused of the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.

The United States or Saudi Arabia could bring it to the United Nations and argue that “these are very obvious violations and for the Security Council to do nothing in light of this major attempted violation cheapens the words” of the treaty, Kaye said.

Another option, if there is a dispute under the UN treaty for protected persons, is that one side can seek an arbitration and ultimately a ruling from the Court of International Justice, located in the Netherlands.

“Basically it’s asking the court to interpret whether the convention has in fact been violated,” said Sean Murphy, a professor at George Washington University Law School who has argued several cases before the court.

After lengthy legal wrangling in the Lockerbie case and an eventual thawing of relations between Washington and Tripoli, the suspects in that case were handed over to a Scottish court that was convened in the Netherlands.

The United States could also turn the matter over to Interpol, the global police organization, which could order an international arrest warrant for Shakuri, thus making it difficult for him to travel outside of Iran, the experts said.

The legal proceedings against Arbabsiar will proceed in US District Court in New York where he will appear on Oct. 25 for a preliminary hearing.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.