Jessica Fino 21 Feb 2019 10:52am

UBS fined €3.7bn in France over tax fraud

Swiss bank UBS has been fined €3.7bn (£3.2bn) by the French authorities in a tax fraud case

After a trial court found the bank helped wealthy clients evade taxes in France, UBS was also ordered to pay €800m in civil damages, and its French subsidiary was fined an additional €15m for complicity.

The trial was set as settlement talks failed between the bank and the national financial prosecutor’s office (PNF) back in 2017. UBS refused to pay the €1.1bn settlement that the French prosecutors had requested, stating that it was too high.

The bank said yesterday that it “strongly disagrees” with the verdict, claiming the conviction is “not supported by any concrete evidence”, but “based on unfounded allegations of former employees”.

“UBS will appeal the verdict and evaluate whether the written decision requires any additional steps,” it said in a statement.

It added that, under French law, an appeal suspends the judgment of the trial court and leads to a transfer of the case to the Court of Appeals, which then retries the case in its entirety.

In 2014, the bank was ordered to pay bail of £872m by French magistrates ahead of a formal investigation for money laundering.

One year later, the US Securities & Exchange Commission ordered UBS to pay $19.5m (£14.9m) to settle charges that it had misled US investors.