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Ex-UBS Executive Acquitted in $20 Billion Tax Fraud Trial

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida — A federal jury Monday acquitted Raoul Weil, formerly the No. 3 executive at Swiss banking giant UBS AG, of charges that he conspired with wealthy Americans to hide $20 billion in secret accounts from the IRS. Weil had faced up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if he'd been convicted of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government.

"We're obviously pleased with the verdict. This was a case that should never have been brought," said Weil's attorney, Matthew Menchel. Prosecutors declined to comment. In the courtroom, Weil hugged his wife and lawyers, clenching both fists when the verdict was announced.

Weil was the highest-ranking Swiss banker prosecuted under an IRS and Justice Department crackdown on Americans' use of offshore accounts to dodge U.S. taxes. In 2009, UBS paid a $780 million U.S. fine and disclosed the names of thousands of U.S. account holders to the IRS, many of whom were later prosecuted.

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— Associated Press