Bradley C. Birkenfeld is the most significant financial whistleblower in history and the author of Lucifer’s Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy, (October 2016). As an international private banker he exposed how UBS, the world’s largest bank, helped ultra-wealthy Americans commit billions in tax fraud. His bombshell revelations cracked the impenetrable fortress of Swiss banks, proving that offshore financial institutions systematically aided clients’ tax evasion, corruption and terrorist activities. His case triggered monumental changes in banking laws, the federal tax code and international tax treaties.
In 2005, despite a thriving career spanning Credit Suisse, Barclays Bank and UBS, Birkenfeld could no longer keep silent about bank-enabled tax fraud. When UBS rejected his concerns, he turned to the U.S. authorities. Though jailed for 30 months, he was soon vindicated with a record-breaking IRS reward: his work had enabled the U.S. Treasury to recover $15 billion in back taxes, fines and penalties. The case set off a domino effect of international investigations into offshore banking’s secret crimes, including the Panama Papers and much more. Now retired, Birkenfeld is a philanthropist and supports whistleblowing efforts worldwide.