France indicts UBS for money laundering and tax fraud

Thursday, 24 July 2014
The French authorities have charged Swiss bank UBS with helping residents of France evade taxes.

The criminal investigation of UBS has lasted for more than a year, and included a search of the bank's premises in Paris last November. Three UBS France executives are also under investigation as individuals.

The formal indictment is for money laundering, aggravated by tax fraud. The prosecutors accuse UBS France of soliciting wealthy French residents to open secret bank accounts between 2004 and 2012. One prominent client was the former French budget and tax enforcement minister Jerome Cahuzac, who in April last year was forced to confess that he had owned an undeclared EUR600,000 UBS account for many years before secretly moving it to Singapore in 2009.

Prosecutors at a convocation hearing in Paris on Wednesday ordered UBS to pay a surety of EUR1.1 billion by the end of September, pending a court hearing.

The bank has criticised the bail demand as 'legally flawed and highly politicised', and disputed the process used by the French magistrates to set the amount. It said it would 'continue to defend the case strongly'.


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