WASHINGTON — (AP) Lawyers for a whistleblower say the Internal Revenue Service has awarded their client $104 million for providing information about overseas tax cheats — the largest amount ever awarded by the agency.

Ex-Swiss banker Bradley Birkenfeld is credited with exposing widespread tax evasion at Swiss bank UBS AG. Birkenfeld himself served about two and-a-half years in prison for a fraud conspiracy conviction related to the case, which resulted in a $780 million fine against the bank and an unprecedented agreement requiring UBS to turn over thousands of names of suspected American tax dodgers to the IRS.

Birkenfeld’s lawyers said the award provides “104 million messages to whistleblowers around the world — that there is now a safe and secure way to report tax fraud.”

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