The man accused of being the biggest tax cheat in U.S. history will have to stay in jail until his trial either in late spring or early summer, a federal judge ruled this afternoon.
Telecommunications tycoon Walter Anderson, 51, has been in custody since he was arrested Feb. 27 at Dulles International Airport as he returned from a trip to London. He faces charges of concealing roughly $450 million in personal income in offshore shell corporations and failing to pay more than $200 million he owed in federal and District taxes over two decades.
Anderson, who was seeking to be released on bond, and his attorney argued in a hearing last week that he had been a lifelong resident of the Washington area and wanted to vigorously defend himself against the government accusations. Anderson has told The Washington Post in an interview that the government's charges are inaccurate and that all the income was not for his personal use but for the benefit of a charitable foundation that he managed.
U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman ruled today that there was "ample reason to doubt that Mr. Anderson would appear for trial if released."
Friedman said the grand jury indictment portrays Anderson as a man who moved hundreds of millions of dollars out of the United States through a complicated web of corporations in Panama, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands -- without drawing any notice for more than a decade. The judge noted that Anderson had an established interest in concealing his identity and using aliases and had many properties and connections in other countries that could make it easy for him to hide from U.S. law enforcement.
"The nature and the circumstances of the offense with which Mr. Anderson is charged demonstrate not only his considerable incentive to flee and evade prosecution, but also his considerable experience in conducting business abroad and moving money and assets across borders without detection," the judge wrote.
Friedman's decision means Anderson, a resident of Georgetown, will likely remain in D.C. Jail until his trial, unless he accepts a plea agreement.