The problem in writing about Brad Birkenfeld is deciding where to begin. I first had contact with Brad on September 14, 2012. At that time, I contacted him through his lawyer, Steve Kohn, to see if he would come to Canada to speak regarding unpaid offshore taxes and to solicit his help in exposing Canadian corruption.
Brad replied with a straightforward statement, “1. Because of the (scapegoat) conviction falsely levelled against me by the corrupt DOJ, I am unable to travel to Canada with a conviction (your country forbids my entrance). “The second statement, in Brad’s own words, “I have attempted to report illegal behavior in Canada with UBS (the exact same scandal that I exposed in the US), but your government has failed to provide me ANY assurances that I would not be prosecuted or subjected to some laws there.”
That was the start of a developing relationship and an interesting odyssey that is still being developed after six years. In future blogs, I intend to develop this story.
However, before continuing towards the future, I think it helpful to go back to the past. Brad witnessed corrupt business practices. His book, “Lucifer’s Bank” describes his efforts and continued attempts to break open these corrupt and secret practices. A simple google will supply the reader with extensive information. Suffice it to say that the U.S. Department of Justice charged Brad for criminal activity. He was found guilty and sentenced to 30 months in prison.
To show how paradoxical the U.S. system of Justice is, Brad received a $104M whistleblower award from the Internal Revenue Service for exposing essentially the same corrupt practices he was charged with. The award arrived while he was serving his prison sentence. This was recognition for it recovering over $15 billion in unpaid taxes based on his information.
It was only this year that I had the fortunate opportunity to meet him personally. It was overdue and well worth the wait. We enjoy an animated and lively conversation. He is passionate when it comes to whistleblowing issues and has taken on the task of developing whistleblowing awareness around the world. When I try and connect with him, I never know where his will be: Greece, France, Germany, England, U.S.A and I believe many other countries around the world.
This gives a starting point for the story. A great deal has happened by not happening. That is a curious but true statement. We have been working hard at this since 2012. It feels like a situation of two steps forward, three steps backwards at time. Our success can be summed up by the statement “in defense of the status quo”.
This is a long and convoluted story. We try and expose the truth; the government counters. It is like fighting the Hydra. Every time we cut off a head, it grows another one, equally dedicated to inaction. The main head is the Department of Injustice. I will provide more details in future articles.
Allan Cutler, President
Anti-Corruption and Accountability Canada (formerly Canadians for Accountability)