Lucifer’s Banker by Bradley Birkenfeld (3 Stars)

Thank you t31125541o the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.

This tell-all tale of Swiss banking and tax evasion by the super-wealthy is written in the same vein as Frank Abagnale’s Catch Me If You Can. You need to get past the author’s arrogance (and, wow, there’s a lot of that!), self-serving interests and smarter-than-thou attitude and just take in the story. At the beginning, I was ready to just give up as the author is so pretentious and pompous, but then I realized that if he hadn’t been, there wouldn’t be a story after all because “normal” people don’t behave in such a manner.

Birkenfeld is a banker working for UBS in Switzerland, living a life of luxury. He’s happy to do so, and makes no apologies for breaking the rules. It’s what keeps him in the cars, watches and jet-setting lifestyle he craves. However, once he realizes he may be the fall guy, he turns whistleblower. Birkfenfeld was later prosecuted and spent time in a low-security prison. After his release, he received a $104 million reward, which was a percentage of the taxes the IRS was ultimately able to collect.

Read the story and you be the judge. Did he deserve prison time? Did he deserve a reward for his dirty deeds? What about the U.S. judicial system and corruption? Dirty politicians and their political machinations?

I can see this being a movie soon.


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