UBS: Tax evasion allegations against Swiss bank upheld

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption UBS is accused of helping clients hide money in Swiss accounts

The High Court in Paris has been told that Switzerland’s UBS bank helped wealthy individuals and companies evade tax.

The French national tax appeals court said it had handed down two judgement to the bank, ruling it should pay back 489m euros ($567m; £445m).

The judgement followed a request from French authorities to investigate UBS over tax evasion and money laundering.

UBS said it would “take a number of measures to improve client protection”.

Some 3,000 French banks are regulated by the European Single Supervisory Mechanism, and 25,000 financial institutions are under watch by the French banking regulator.

Banks are registered with a warrant issued by the French regulator following an investigation into suspected tax evasion.

The French tax appeals court found UBS liable for either helping clients withdraw funds to avoid French tax or by storing the funds illegally in France.

French authorities claim the bank helped 350,000 French clients and 10,000 corporate entities to hide funds between 2003 and 2010.

“Tax evasion is possible in France but tax evasion is not allowed in France,” lawyer Laurence Parisi said after the verdict.

UBS said it would “willfully appeal” the decision.

“We regret and reject these unfounded accusations and restrictions imposed on our ability to serve our clients in France.

“UBS is committed to serving its clients with respect for the rules and taxes everywhere in the world,” the bank said in a statement.

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