Preview of Cabalists on Trial

There are some big names from the banking industry and monarchy that are facing trial this year. Hopefully, the list should get a little longer in the days ahead.

Alleged mastermind of UBS tax evasion scheme faces trial

FORT LAUDERDALE Fla. Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:01pm EDT

Attorney Aaron Marcu (R) speaks about his client, Raoul Weil, a former high-ranking UBS banker charged with tax fraud by U.S. authorities, who is pending release on bail of $10.5 million at federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida December 16, 2013.  REUTERS-Joe Skipper
1 of 2. Attorney Aaron Marcu (R) speaks about his client, Raoul Weil, a former high-ranking UBS banker charged with tax fraud by U.S. authorities, who is pending release on bail of $10.5 million at federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida December 16, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Joe Skipper
(Reuters) – Former UBS bank executive Raoul Weil was the mastermind of the Swiss bank’s illegal offshore operations that helped thousands of Americans evade taxes, prosecutors said at the start of his federal trial on Tuesday.
Weil, 54, was the third-highest ranked executive at the Zurich-based wealth management firm and was charged by U.S. authorities in 2008 of concealing up to $20 billion in U.S. taxpayers’ assets in secret offshore accounts.
“You’ll hear evidence that problems with this U.S. business were brought to Weil’s attention again, and again, and again, year after year,” Mark Daly of the Justice Department’s tax division told jurors at the trial in South Florida. “He had the power to shut down this business.”
If convicted, Weil faces up to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit tax fraud.
Weil’s attorneys said the offshore private banking business was only a tiny fraction of his responsibilities overseeing UBS wealth management’s of more than $2 trillion in assets.
This “is a case about a small group of Swiss bankers who … decided for their own reasons and for their own personal gain to violate banks rules and to violate the laws,” said Aaron Marcu, an attorney with New York City-based Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
Weil was arrested in October 2013 while on vacation with his wife at an upscale hotel in the northern Italian city of Bologna. [ID:nL6N0JS38C] He pleaded not guilty last year after being extradited to the United States.
The trial is expected to last about four weeks, according to Judge James I. Cohn. Wearing a suit, Weil looked upbeat in a federal courtroom in Fort Lauderdale, where his wife, members of the European media and international lawyers also were in attendance.
The United States in recent years has stepped up its pursuit of Swiss banks for aiding tax evasion and has increasingly pressured individual bankers.
Authorities are also examining whether 14 Swiss banks had roles in helping potentially tens of thousands of Americans avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.
Daly laid out alleged tactics bankers were ordered to use, including keeping bank statements free of account holders’ information, or the bank’s name. UBS bankers were also given computers, Daly said, with secret, second hard drives holding account confirmation that could be erased in an instant with a password.
To disguise any links with the banks, the bankers met clients clandestinely at major events, such as tennis tournaments and the annual Art Basel fair in Miami Beach, he said.
Marcu slammed the credibility of government witnesses, including the bank’s former top private banker for the Americas, Martin Liechti, who was ousted from UBS in 2009 after providing evidence to the United States after being detained in Florida in 2009.
“They cheated, the instructed their underlings to cheat, to help Americans to set up phony corporations to help them cheat on their taxes, they broke the law … and then they hid,” Marcu said. “They had no interest in sharing with Mr. Weil the fact that they were violating the law.”
(Additional reporting by Joshua Franklin and Katharina Bart in Zurich.; Editing by David Adams, Letitia Stein, Cynthia Osterman and Andrew Hay)
source »

This Spanish Princess Might Get Thrown In Jail For Corruption

cristina de borbonREUTERS/Albert Gea
MADRID (Reuters) – A Spanish court on Wednesday upheld corruption charges against Cristina de Borbon, sister of newly-crowned King Felipe VI, and her husband in one of the last steps before a trial that could cloud the monarchy’s bid to rebuild its reputation.
The rulings by the Palma de Mallorca court come barely a week after King Juan Carlos abdicated in favour of his son, who sought to repair the royal family’s scandal-worn image with a promise of honesty and transparency when he took the throne.
The court said it had formalized charges of tax fraud and money laundering against Princess Cristina, 49, who was caught up in an investigation of her husband Inaki Urdangarin‘s business dealings.
Urdangarin, 46, a former Olympic handball player, is accused of using his connections to win public contracts to put on events through his non-profit organization Noos Foundation, and of embezzling several millions of euros in public funds.
The couple, who have four children, are now a few administrative steps away from being put on trial. They have both denied wrongdoing.
Defense attorneys for Cristina de Borbon and Urdangarin told reporters they would appeal Wednesday’s ruling, as did the anti-corruption prosecutor of the Balearics, where the investigation is centred. The prosecutor has said repeatedly that he does not believe there is evidence that the princess committed a crime.
Under Spanish law, prosecutors can file briefs on behalf of the defense if they disagree with the examining magistrate who is investigating a case and who has a dual role as prosecutor and judge.
In his 167-page ruling, Palma Examining Magistrate Jose Castro said there was evidence that the couple had paid for dozens of personal items – from parking tickets to children’s birthday parties to a trip to Rio de Janeiro – out of a shell company he said was used to launder proceeds from the Noos Foundation.
“Everything indicates that Doña Cristina de Borbon y Grecia was an active participant in organizing and budgeting these events which were clearly of a personal nature,” the judge said in the ruling.
He also complained of receiving pressure from many quarters – political, judicial, media and institutional – over the time it took him to investigate Urdangarin. He said it was a complex case and that the four-year investigation was justified.
Princess Cristina and Urdangarin, if found guilty in a trial, could face sentences of multiple years in prison.

Batista Faces Trial Next Month on Alleged Insider Trading

FedEx faces trial for drug trafficking

Published time: July 18, 2014 14:53
Edited time: July 20, 2014 09:30
Reuters / Lance Murphey

Reuters / Lance Murphey

Shipping giant Federal Express has been indicted for drug trafficking for illegal online pharmacies and conspiracy to traffic controlled substances by the US Department of Justice.
“FedEx knew that it was delivering drugs to dealers and addicts,” said the press release from the US Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of California released on Thursday.
Among the 15 counts, the company stands charged with “conspiracies to traffic in controlled substances and misbranded prescription drugs for its role in distributing controlled substances and prescription drugs for illegal internet pharmacies,” according to the statement.
It said that FedEx was aware that its services were being utilized by illegal drug companies and the transportation of such substances, and had been for more than a decade.
“From at least as early as 2004, DEA, FDA and members of Congress and their staff informed FedEx that illegal internet pharmacies were using its shipping services to distribute controlled substances and prescription drugs in violation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), and numerous state laws,” read the indictment.
Substances included Phendimetrazine (Schedule III); Ambien, Phentermine, Diazepam, and Alprazolam (Schedule IV) – all to “customers who had no legitimate need.”
FedEx denied wrongdoing in a statement Thursday evening, with a spokesman saying that the company would be pleading not guilty to the charges.
“We will defend against this attack on the integrity and good name of FedEx and its employees,” Patrick Fitzgerald, senior vice-president of marketing and communications, said in a statement.
He added that the company was a “transportation company – not law enforcement.”
“We have repeatedly requested that the government provide us a list of online pharmacies engaging in illegal activity,” he said.
“Whenever DEA provides us a list of pharmacies engaging in illegal activity, we will turn off shipping for those companies immediately. So far the government has declined to provide such a list.”
In 2012, there were indications, however, that both FedEx Inc. and United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) could be targeted as part of an ‘expanding crackdown’ against illegal prescription painkiller sales, according to a contemporary Wall Street Journal report.
FedEx called the investigation ‘absurd and deeply disturbing’, accusing the US government of attempting to delegate some form of law enforcement to delivery people.
The company is due to appear in court on July 29.
source »

Ex-Cameron aide Patrick Rock faces trial over child abuse images

Former adviser, who worked on policy for online pornography, charged with four offences related to indecent images of children
Patrick Rock
Patrick Rock, a former adviser to David Cameron, arriving at Westminster magistrates court. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

A former senior aide to David Cameron is facing trial at Southwark crown court accused of making and possessing scores of child abuse images.
Patrick Rock, 63, who was one of the government’s chief advisers on policy for online pornography filters, appeared at Westminster magistrates court in London on Thursday. He was charged with three offences of making child abuse images and one of possessing 62 indecent images of children. Crown Prosecution Service lawyers assessed the images as level C, the lowest category.
Standing alone in the glass-fronted dock, Rock spoke only to give his name, date of birth and address during the short hearing before the district judge, John Zani.
Prosecutor Ruona Iguyovwe told the judge that Rock’s government position “aggravates the circumstances of this case” and that it should be transferred to the crown court.
Igvyovwe said the charges related to alleged offending in the US, where Rock had been living and working until recently.
Zani bailed Rock to return to Southwark crown court on 17 July. Under his bail conditions, Rock must surrender his passport to police, reside at his home in Fulham, west London, and maintain contact with a welfare officer.
The court heard that Rock is in regular contact with a welfare officer provided by an unnamed previous employer. Downing Street and the Conservative party denied they were providing the officer.
Rock was arrested at his home in February. He resigned from his post as deputy head of Cameron’s policy unit following his arrest, which was not made public until the details were published by the Daily Mail three weeks later.

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