UBS client pleads guilty to US tax evasion

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Robert Moran, a yachting company owner, admits to hiding USD 3 million in Switzerland.

WASHINGTON - An American client of UBS who hid more than USD 3.0 million (CHF 3.4 million) in a secret account at the Swiss bank pleaded guilty Tuesday to tax fraud in a Florida court, US officials said.

Robert Moran, a yacht broker, admitted a criminal charge that he submitted a false income tax return, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service announced in a joint statement.

Moran, of Lighthouse Point, Florida, appeared Tuesday before Judge James Cohn in a Fort Lauderdale court "and accepted responsibility for concealing more than USD 3 million in assets in a secret bank account at UBS in Switzerland," the statement said.

According to court records, Moran filed a US tax return in October 2008 for tax year 2007 that failed to report his interest in a financial account at UBS.

Additionally, Moran failed to report the income he earned on any UBS Swiss bank accounts.

He was the owner of a UBS account in the name of Winter Drive Investments, the records showed. From 2001 through 2008, Moran communicated with bankers at UBS about the purchase and sale of securities, and the conversion of investments from US dollars to euros.

The judge scheduled sentencing for 26 June. Moran faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a maximum fine of USD 250,000.

He is the second UBS client to be charged in the US investigation that angered Switzerland where banking privacy is a foundation of the financial sector.

Steven Rubinstein was charged on 2 April with filing a false income tax return via a criminal complaint. Rubinstein, of Boca Raton, Florida, allegedly failed to report income and assets in a secret UBS bank account.

UBS, Switzerland's biggest bank, admitted guilt to US tax fraud in February and identified some 300 US clients, including Rubinstein, who are suspected of tax fraud by US authorities.

AFP / Expatica

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