Money laundering tax fraud: UBS appeals to cassation

Posted on 20 Dec. 2021 at 19:00Updated 20 Dec. 2021 at 19:06

UBS finally decided to appeal. The Swiss bank had only five days to make up its mind after the publication of the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal which condemned it last week to a fine of 3.75 million euros, the “confiscation” one billion euros and 800 million in damages.

This will allow UBS “to thoroughly assess the verdict of the Court of Appeal and determine the next steps, in the best interest of its stakeholders”, she argued in a press release circulated in the evening of this Monday.

Clearly, it is about leaving time to fully study all the consequences of the shutdown. On reflection, the bank can always, as the law allows it, to withdraw its appeal if it wishes.

Greatly reduced fine

The Paris Court of Appeal, however, had largely reduced the conviction for illicit bank canvassing and laundering of tax fraud by the Swiss group, which in the first instance received a record penalty of 4.5 billion euros.

Nevertheless, the judgment remains in the defense of the bank, which is difficult to understand, in particular on the legal reasons for the additional penalty of confiscation.

At first instance, the judges had opted for a fine calculation based on the assets evaded from the tax authorities (estimated by the prosecution at 9.6 billion) but the proof had proved difficult to provide, according to the Court of Appeal. . The latter, while acknowledging the guilt of the Swiss bank, had therefore chosen to apply, for lack of objective evidence to calculate the fine, the maximum sanction provided for by law (3.75 million euros).

However, for good measure in the face of the scale of the fraud, the appeal judges had decided to confiscate the 1 billion euros retained by the courts as surety in 2018. The Swiss bank was accused of having encouraged wealthy clients French to open accounts in Switzerland without the knowledge of the tax authorities between 2004 and 2012.

No appeal for UBS France

Several individuals and UBS France were also prosecuted. The court nevertheless chose to acquit the French subsidiary UBS France from the prosecution for complicity in aggravated money laundering of tax fraud, while confirming the conviction for complicity in illegal bank canvassing, to a 1.875 million euros fine – against 15 million in the first instance.

Four of the six former executives were also sentenced to sentences, most of which were lighter than those imposed by the court. UBS France and individuals have decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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