Last week, President Obama announced the members of his new Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
And one of the names piqued our interest:
Robert Wolf, Chairman & CEO, UBS Group Americas
That’s because UBS isn’t exactly the kind of company you’d expect Obama might want to associate with just at the moment. It’s the subject of a widening federal investigation, being conducted by both DOJ and the IRS, into its offshore private banking services, focused on allegations that it helped an estimated 19,000 wealthy clients evade billions in taxes.
Last fall, Raoul Weil, who ran the firm’s global wealth management and business banking division, was indicted in connection with the alleged scheme.
A few months earlier, a former UBS exec, Bradley Birkenfeld, pleaded guilty to helping a client evade millions of dollars in federal income taxes while with the firm.
Of course, there’s no indication that Wolf had any connection to the alleged scheme. But it’s worth noting that he and Weil did serve together on UBS’s Group Executive Board. So it’s not like they don’t know each other, it appears. (Weil stepped down from the board temporarily after his indictment.)
You’d think President Obama could have rounded out his advisory board with someone from a firm that’s not under federal investigation for helping rich people cheat on their taxes — especially given the current financial climate. Guess not.