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Project on Government Oversight

POGO Condemns Sentencing of UBS Whistleblower

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August 21, 2009

POGO condemns today's ruling in the trial of UBS whistleblower Brad Birkenfeld, who helped to unearth the largest case of offshore tax evasion in U.S. history. Birkenfeld was sentenced for a term of 40 months—10 months longer than recommend by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Birkenfeld’s case is remarkable because he was investigated and ultimately prosecuted based on disclosures he voluntarily submitted to the U.S. government after raising his concerns internally at UBS.

Prosecuting an insider who singlehandedly brought the U.S. government such a prominent and important case sends a clear message to future whistleblowers. “This case says don’t bother bringing forward corruption because they’ll go after you,” said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian. 

Earlier today, POGO joined three organizations—the Government Accountability Project, Transparency International Switzerland, and Integrity Line—in writing to the court about the troubling public policy implications Birkenfeld’s sentencing poses for future whistleblowers.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.