Ex-UBS banker avoids prison time in US tax fraud case

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former UBS AG banker who pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States by helping wealthy Americans evade taxes was sentenced to five years of probation by a United States judge on Tuesday.

Martin Lack, a Swiss resident, pleaded guilty in February to a single conspiracy count and agreed to cooperate with US prosecutors in a long-running probe into offshore tax evasion.

US District Judge William Dimitrouleas of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, sentenced Lack to five years probation, in keeping with prosecutors' recommendations.

He also required Lack to pay a fine of US$7,500 (S$9,435).

Lack worked at UBS from the early 1990s until 2003, according to the indictment, before founding his own investment management firm, Lack & Partner Asset Management.

Prosecutors had accused Lack in an August 2011 indictment of helping US customers in opening and maintaining secret bank accounts at UBS and a Swiss cantonal bank for the purpose of concealing income and assets and filing false tax returns.

In 2009, UBS agreed to pay US$780 million and admit to helping Americans evade taxes, and it gave names of clients to US authorities.

Authorities in the United States continue to examine whether other Swiss banks had roles in helping Americans avoid paying tax dollars.

Last week bank Credit Suisse pleaded guilty to a US.criminal charge and agreed to pay more than US$2.5 billion in penalties to help Americans evade taxes.

The case is U.S. v. Lack, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, No. 11-cr-60184.