THE BLOG
07/17/2008 09:40 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Tax Havens Hearing

This morning the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which I chair, is holding a hearing to look at two banks that have relied on secrecy and deception to hide, not just the tax avoidance schemes of their clients, but the actions they themselves took to facilitate U.S. tax evasion.

Click here to watch the hearing live.

Each year, the United States Treasury loses an estimated $100 billion in tax revenues from offshore tax abuses. Tax havens are engaged in economic warfare against the United States and honest, hardworking American taxpayers.

First is LGT, a private bank owned by the royal family of Liechtenstein. Lichtenstein is a tiny alpine nation whose 35,000 citizens would fill one-third of the University of Michigan football stadium. It has no airport, but supports 15 banks that together boast of holding more than $200 billion in assets. Lichtenstein also boasts of secrecy laws that are more stringent than even those that have made Switzerland synonymous with hidden bank accounts.

The second bank is UBS, a Swiss bank. It is one of the world's largest financial institutions, the world's largest manager of private wealth, and a public company of international renown. Yet, as we will hear today, UBS has an estimated 19,000 so-called "undeclared accounts" for U.S. citizens with an estimated $18 billion in assets that have been kept secret from the IRS.

Again, click here to watch the hearing live starting at 9:30am.