A state witness in the Anglo-leasing case has a criminal record having been convicted in the US for fraud.
Bradley Birkenfeld who testified from Britain via video-link confirmed he was jailed for 40 months for violating banking secrecy laws and helping US citizens to evade tax.
The tough talking witness appeared to succumb under intense cross examination by SC Ahmednassir Abdullahi who also reminded him that he was a fifth suspect in the Anglo-leasing trial before he “flipped” and became a prosecution witness.
Watch an excerpt of the proceedings below:
SC Ahmednassir demanded to know how Birkenfeld ended up becoming a state witness.
The lawyer said Birkenfeld is “a person who goes from one court to another providing services for cash and favours so that you are not put in the dock like in this case, and that his testimony may be unreliable as he is a convicted fraudster and has a motive to lie,” a thing the self proclaimed whistle-blower denied.
Refused to travel to Kenya
The court had that he could not be traced when he was an accused person in the case , at one time forcing the local court to issue an international warrant of arrest, but became available once he struck a plea bargain and became a state witness.
Birkenfeld vehemently denied he did not know about the contract from which the Anglo-leasing case arose but it was not lost on the lawyer why he had not come forward to authorities earlier to deny his role and waited trill he as charged.
He had refused to travel to Kenya citing security reasons and the US State department advisory on travel to Kenya.
Ahmednassir told the witness that he has a criminal record of setting up offshore entities in Switzerland.
He admitted on oath that the day he gave his witness statement he was still an accused person.
Birkenfeld served 30 months in a US jail for tax evasion conspiracy.
Ahmednassir told the witness that he has a motivation to lie to save his skin and has done so on several occasions.
He said that the witness having been convicted in court in the US for 40 months became a witness to avoid another conviction.
“What did they offer you in this case? SC Ahmednasir charged adding that he was made a witness after extracting a bargain from the prosecution if he recanted his signatures and knowledge of the contract.At one time Birkenfeld said he was paid USD104 million “for selling information that he acquired as an employee of a bank” in Switzerland he served before he resigned.
His services though were rejected in Canada, the trial court heard, and Ahmednassir told him Canadians did not want to deal with an ex-convict.
Ahmednassir said that at times Birkenfeld is paid in cash or made a witness.
Lives in Malta
The veteran lawyer also wanted to know why the witness lives in Malta for reasons besides the “weather and food.”
He said Birkenfled is “domiciled” in Malta as it does not have extradition treaties and that he is a fugitive running from several jurisdictions, like Switzerland.