UBS was placed under formal investigation by the French authorities on Wednesday and ordered to post bail of more than around $1.5bn in the kind of tax-evasion case that ensnared it in the United States several years ago.
The New York Times reports that the bank faces charges of money laundering and tax fraud for helping French clients hide funds from the national tax administration from 2004 to 2012, an official in the Paris prosecutor’s office said. The official cannot be identified, in keeping with the rules of the office.
UBS has also been ordered to post bail of about $1.5bn, the official said. The bank did not respond to requests for comment.
The news, first reported Wednesday by Agence France-Presse, was not entirely unexpected. A whistle-blower’s tip had led the authorities to the bank, and UBS was last year placed under formal investigation on suspicion that it illegally sold banking services to French citizens to enable them to move money offshore. It was ordered to pay a $13.5m fine in that case over lax internal controls.
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