A former vice president of an Israeli bank's Los Angeles branch has pleaded not guilty to charges that he conspired to defraud the United States by helping conceal undeclared accounts owned and controlled by U.S. customers in Israel, federal prosecutors said today.
Shokrollah "Dr. B" Baravarian, of Beverly Hills, entered the plea Tuesday in Los Angeles federal court. Further court dates were not immediately set.
Baravarian allegedly concealed the accounts from the Internal Revenue Service by opening them under pseudonyms, code names or the names of other entities set up in the British Virgin Islands and the island of Nevis, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
He also allegedly helped U.S. customers secretly access the accounts by obtaining loans secured by undeclared accounts in Israel but issued by the Los Angeles branch. He also failed to keep copies of loan documents at the branch, prosecutors allege.
"Our special agents unraveled the complex financial transactions used to disguise the funds in the undeclared accounts," Richard Weber, chief of IRS- Criminal Investigations, said previously.
If convicted, Baravarian faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
--City News Service