A UBS client in Seattle has pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return that did not disclose his holdings in secret Swiss bank accounts.

Arthur Joel Eisenberg pleaded guilty Dec. 17, 2010 in Seattle in federal court to filing a false tax return. He faces up to three years in prison when he is sentenced on March 4.

Eisenberg admitted that he failed to disclose on a tax return he filed in December 2005 that he had financial accounts at UBS in Switzerland. He also failed to report the income earned on his UBS Swiss bank accounts. At the end of 2004, the total balance of Eisenberg’s various UBS accounts exceeded $3.1 million. Eisenberg opened a bank account at the Cayman Islands branch of UBS as early as 1983.  The assets held in the account were later transferred to UBS AG in Zurich, Switzerland.

In May of 2004, Eisenberg authorized and caused the formation of a Hong Kong corporation named East West Universal Limited and transferred his assets from the UBS account in his own name to a new UBS account in the name of the corporation.

Two Swiss lawyers, including Matthias Walter Rickenbach, were named as the company’s first directors. However, Eisenberg continued to be the beneficial owner of the account and earned income from it. Rickenbach was indicted last year by the U.S. Justice Department (see Swiss Tax Indictments Widen Beyond UBS).

In 2008, Eisenberg instructed UBS to close the account and transfer the funds in the account to another large global Swiss bank headquartered in Zurich. The highest year-end balance in Eisenberg’s account occurred in 2007 and exceeded $4.2 million.

Special agents at IRS Criminal Investigation investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas W. Brown and trial attorney Stephanie M. Carowan of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are prosecuting the case.

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