The Texas billionaire facing the largest U.S. tax-evasion case against an individual is urging a judge to accept his family trust’s offer to put up $1.45 billion in exchange for the IRS relaxing liens on his property and assets.
Robert Brockman’s offshore charitable trust is willing to move money from Switzerland into U.S. accounts, according to a Friday filing by his lawyers in federal court in Houston. In return, Brockman wants the Internal Revenue Service to lift its so-called jeopardy assessment, imposed on taxpayers the agency fears may leave the country or fail to pay their bill.
That assessment has led the IRS to seize funds from accounts owned by Brockman and his wife, place liens on their former home and other properties, and attach his retirement pay from Reynolds & Reynolds, the auto dealership software company Brockman acquired in 2006.
“It is unreasonable to deprive Mr. Brockman of his retirement pay, or to prevent Mrs. Brockman from selling a residence that the Brockmans left over one year ago, as the IRS is currently doing,” Brockman’s lawyers said in the Friday filing.
Brockman’s filing was part of their effort to get the court to order the assessment lifted. A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment.
Brockman is facing criminal charges that he evaded taxes on $2 billion in income and laundered money, as well as parallel civil claims. He has pleaded not guilty but also claims he isn’t competent to stand trial due to dementia. Prosecutors say he’s faking. A judge who held a November hearing on Brockman’s competence hasn’t ruled.
The indictment alleges Brockman controlled the Bermuda-based family trust and its billions of dollars of assets. His lawyers say Brockman has no role in managing the trust, which indirectly owns Reynolds & Reynolds, and cite Bermuda court decisions backing up the trust’s independence.
$100 million dividend
A lawyer for the trust, Mark Srere, said in a March 15 letter outlining the proposal that the prosecution and jeopardy assessment “created a great deal of uncertainty” about its “substantial shareholding” of Reynolds & Reynolds, a firm worth more than $5 billion.
Srere said the trust would transfer $1.35 billion held in U.S. Treasury bills at Bank Mirabaud in Switzerland to one or more financial institutions in the U.S. It also would “procure a dividend” of about $100 million from Reynolds & Reynolds for the U.S. accounts.
Swiss prosecutors froze about $950 million linked to Brockman after his indictment in October 2020. It wasn’t immediately clear how that would affect the proposal.
Brockman’s lawyers on Friday said the government “cannot have it both ways: it cannot simultaneously contend that he owns a multi-billion dollar asset that is located in the United States, and at the same time prevail in its contention that its ability to collect is in jeopardy.”
The case is Brockman v. United States of America, 22-cv-202, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).