US declares Swiss banker, lawyer fugitives

14th December 2009, Comments 0 comments

A Swiss banker and a lawyer accused of helping US clients evade taxes are declared fugitive.

Miami -- A Swiss banker and a lawyer accused of fraud for helping US clients evade taxes on money hidden in Swiss banks were declared fugitives by a Florida judge.

Federal Judge Daniel Hurley of West Palm Beach took the action Thursday against Hansruedi Schumacher, a former UBS and Neue Zuercher Bank executive, and lawyer Matthias Rickenbach, an expert in international transactions.

He said the case against them would be suspended "until such time as they are apprehended."

Schumacher was regional manager for international business at UBS in the United States between 2000 and 2002 and then went on to hold a similar position at Zurich-based NZB, according to court documents.

The banker and Rickenbach were formally charged in August with conspiring to defraud the US government and face up to five years in prison.

US fraud investigations against former executives of UBS, the biggest Swiss bank, reopened a controversy over banking secrecy in Switzerland that strained relations between the two countries.

In August, they signed an agreement under which UBS would disclose information on 4,500 US clients suspected of hiding funds in Swiss banks to avoid paying taxes in the United States.

AFP / Expatica

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