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21 February 2019 08:44
UBS Ordered to Pay Record $5.1 Billion in French Tax Fraud Trial
UBS Group AG was ordered to pay more than 4.5 billion euros ($5.1 billion) by a Paris court that found the bank guilty of helping wealthy French clients stash undeclared funds in Swiss accounts. Shares of UBS fell as much as 4.8 percent.
The Paris criminal court ruled on Wednesday that UBS illegally laundered funds by providing French customers with banking services to hide assets from tax authorities. The judges fined UBS 3.7 billion euros and added another 800 million euros in compensation to the French government.
“The criminal wrongdoings were of an exceptionally serious nature,” said Presiding Judge Christine Mee, who openly clashed with bank officials during a six-week trial. “These acts were committed behind the veil of opacity.”
For eight years, UBS has been dealing with the French probe -- and bad press. Ahead of last year’s trial, the lender was accused in the indictment of laundering customers’ undeclared funds, and dispatching Swiss bankers across the border to seek out new clients even though they lacked the paperwork to offer such services in France.