UBS faces French trial over long-running tax case

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[March 20, 2017]  ZURICH (Reuters) - UBS <UBSG.S> and its French subsidiary face a trial in France after authorities laid out charges against the Swiss bank, marking an escalation of a long-running probe into allegations they helped wealthy clients avoid taxes.

The offices of Swiss bank UBS are seen in the financial district of the City of London, Britain October 31, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo


"We will now have the possibility to respond in detail in a court of law," UBS said in an emailed statement on Monday. "UBS has made clear that the bank disagrees with the allegations, assumptions and legal interpretations being made."

A spokesman for UBS said the bank could not comment on the date of the trial.

French magistrates have ordered that UBS stand trial for aggravated tax fraud and money laundering as well as illegally offering related services, a judicial source said.

Magistrates were expected this week to order a trial in the case, Reuters reported on Sunday, after negotiations failed to produce a settlement in the long-running probe into allegations UBS helped clients avoid taxes.

French newspaper JDD said UBS had rejected a 1.1 billion euro ($1.18 billion) settlement proposed by prosecutors.

The JDD quoted Markus Diethelm, UBS's group general counsel, as saying a 1.1 billion euro payment was "unthinkable" and out of line with similar settlements reached in other countries.

UBS settled a tax case with German authorities in 2014 for around 300 million euros.

($1 = 0.9301 euros)

(Reporting by Joshua Franklin in Zurich and Laurence Frost in Paris; Editing by Michael Shields and Alexander Smith)

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