Ah, so that’s why UBS had us study how to prevent money laundering

UBS Admits To Massive Tax Evasion Scheme

Banking giant UBS has agreed to pay $780 million and turn over once-secret Swiss banking records to settle allegations it conspired to defraud the U.S. government of taxes owed by big clients.

. . .  UBS executives helped U.S. taxpayers open new accounts in the names of sham entities.

Prosecutors contend that UBS executives used encrypted software and other counter-surveillance techniques to prevent anyone from detecting that they were actively marketing such Swiss bank secrecy — and tax evasion — to American taxpayers.

The clients, in turn, filed false tax returns that omitted the income they earned in their Swiss accounts, according to the court papers.

Federal officials said they had pulled aside a veil of secrecy that hid a corrupt international banking practice.

“This was not a mere compliance oversight, but rather a knowing crime motivated by greed and disrespect for the law,” said Alexander Acosta, U.S. attorney for southern Florida.


In 2006 and 2007 UBS was having everyone brush up on their “‘know your customer’ (KYC) skills and the identification of new trends in suspicious behavior” — even operations staff (on the computer side in my case).  We had to “undertake regular training courses, [. . .] in the form of on-line training” or compliance modules as they were called.  These had absolutely zero to do with our jobs, we never dealt with clients, let alone their money, so we used to call in banker friends to help us with the online tests.  (Above quotes from “Contributing to society, Preventing money laundering, corruption and terrorist financing,” http://www.ubs.com/1/e/about/corporate_responsibility/society/fighting_money_laundering.html.  OOPSIE, that page has been deleted!  OK, here’s another one:  http://www.ubs.com/1/e/polandcareers/ourcultureandvalues/corporate_responsibility/society/fighting_money_laundering.html.  Note that this page is under the heading, Our Culture and Values — one trait of the truly advanced, truly high ranking sociopathic mind is the depth and breadth of its hypocrisy.  Criticizing a sociopath for being hypocritical is like criticizing a fish for swimming — it’s simply their nature.)

It’s apparent now what the strategy was — window dressing.  UBS was putting on a big show of complying with anti-money laundering laws by having all firm personnel be trained in recognizing it — all the while carrying out that very thing through encrypted software and other counter-surveillance techniques (according to the U.S. DOJ).

Now what kind of mind would think a transparent ruse like this would accomplish anything?  Perhaps an arrogant, childish sociopathic mind.  Obviously not every crook is a sociopath.  However, in my opinion, sociopathy is the wind in the sails of evil and corruption.  The normally corrupt are forever fighting their consciences, following the conscienceless, the sociopaths, is a relief to them.

Unfortunately it seems UBS is still the same bank that accepted holocaust gold and sought to deprive the heirs of concentration camp victims their rightful funds.  As late as 1997 bank management thought they could order underlings to destroy Nazi-era banking records.  Fortunately, Christopher Meili, a security guard, turned them in.  (For more information:  “‘Nazi gold’ settlement mixed intangibles with money,” http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/views/y/1998/08/hirsch.nazigold.aug21/; Swiss Banks and World War II, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banking_in_Switzerland.)

Suggesting to a sociopathic banker that accepting gold collected from the teeth of concentration camp victims was wrong or the same to an athlete gaining the top of the podium through fraud would only convince the sociopath that the questioner was the one with the problem.  Their code:  you call it cheating, I call it winning.   If the point was to amass gold, the source, to a sociopath, would be utterly of no concern.

5 thoughts on “Ah, so that’s why UBS had us study how to prevent money laundering

  1. To Curious:

    I’m sorry but if you have any other choice, make that one. I used to think that one could work within “the belly of the beast” and be able to find decent working conditions and be recognized for hard work. Unfortunately too many people take on the coloring of their surroundings and foulness at the top or unacknowledged in the past brings out foulness at all levels. I’m drawing my conclusions after having worked there for over 10 years.

    It should be noted that, once again, UBS failed to make Fortune’s Top 100 Places to Work. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2009/full_list/

    Let me also say that if a company follows an external liars’ culture, internally it’s much worse.

    Almost all corporations work following the hierarchical “efficiency principle” — decisions are handed down by the different levels of management on their own say-so and judgment, there is no guarantee of due process (basic fairness, really) or appeal. What can make this tenable for the employee is fairness in management and managerial oversight of the different levels of management. This is where UBS really fails, in my opinion. It seemed to me that there was a massive failure of oversight of management, indeed I would say this amounted to institutionalized mismanagement. If one’s manager was delusional, a bully, a sociopath or a devotee of a sociopath there was simply no recourse, one was simply at that manager’s mercy. By “devotee of a sociopath” I mean someone who is totally taken in, manipulated by and dedicated to that sociopath. If an individual is delusional or psychotic, had a sociopathic parent and, in women, is middle aged and childless (in otherwords has pent-up mothering instincts that have never been used) then any of these factors represents an entry point for sociopathic manipulation (I should expand this discussion into a whole post at some point). In UBS, one was simply not allowed to appeal around a manager in my experience.

    My division also had regional heads that were allowed almost complete prerogative. They tended to be combinations of screaming babies and Lord High-all-mighties. Regional junior bankers used to call us and beg us not to fight them and to just do things their way (in one case, they used to say that the regional head just had to win and would end up winning anyway). Sometimes when they came to work in New York they could tone down their routines, sometimes not. Some were actual sociopaths, some not.

    A few final points, there was simply no policy for dealing with workplace bullying or even any attempt at handling it. UBS’s HR department was anything but, except perhaps to visitors from the anti-matter universe where everything is reverse. UBS management also worked relentlessly to deprive operations staff of such perks as 40 hour weeks and lunch hours. Overtime was mandatory, including weekend work. Any resistance was met with retaliation.

    If you do take the job, my advice is to keep your head down, do what you’re told and don’t make waves. It’s the nail that sticks up that gets pounded.


  2. Hello. This is off topic but could you give me an idea of what’s it’s like to work for UBS? I have to make some decisions. I’m aware of the company’s public record but how is it internally? Thanks.


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