UBS AG (UBSN), Switzerland’s biggest bank, has been placed under formal investigation by Paris prosecutors as France steps up efforts to combat tax evasion.
Judges Guillaume Daieff and Serge Tournaire are probing the Swiss bank for illicit solicitation of clients, said Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutors’ office. The action comes a week after UBS’s French unit was put under formal investigation for complicity in illicit marketing.
The prosecutors are widening an inquiry over client practices at UBS’s French business after putting three individuals under formal investigation in 2012. French tax investigators last year searched the bank’s offices in cities including Strasbourg, Lyon and Paris.
“This is not a new issue,” Zurich-based UBS said in an e-mailed statement today. “UBS does not tolerate any activities intended to help its clients circumvent their tax obligations.”
The Swiss bank was also given the status of material witness in covering up tax fraud and illicit marketing, Thibault-Lecuivre said, a designation which allows it have a lawyer present during questioning.
The bank “will continue working with the authorities in France within the applicable legal framework to arrive at a resolution to this matter,” UBS said.
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