Ex-UBS banker and informant gets 40 months in prison

Ex-UBS banker and informant gets 40 months in prisonWashington  - A former UBS banker who helped uncover a tax evasion scandal at the Swiss banking giant was sentenced to 40 months in prison Friday by a Florida judge, the US Justice Department said.

Bradley Birkenfeld served as an informant in 2007 for US authorities investigating UBS AG, which has since admitted that its employees helped American clients evade billions of dollars in taxes.

Birkenfeld was sentenced for his own role by a federal judge in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was arrested in 2008 and pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States.

Birkenfeld admitted helping a California real estate developer hide 200 million dollars in assets from US authorities, thereby avoiding paying some 7.2 million dollars in taxes.

The sentence was lower than the five-year maximum sentence, but higher than the 30-month term that was requested by prosecutors, who cited his substantial assistance in the case.

Zurich-based UBS paid 780 million dollars earlier this year to avoid prosecution by the United States and agreed this week to hand over the names of 4,450 US clients that may have evaded taxes. (dpa)