UBS AG, the Swiss bank, will stand trial in France for allegedly helping wealthy clients evade taxes by hiding funds overseas. UBS had been in settlement negotiations with French authorities, but the parties had been unable to agree on the size of the fine.
UBS reportedly rejected a settlement proposed by French prosecutors that included a fine of $1.1 billion euros (about $1.2 billion). UBS was seeking to resolve the claims for less than 300 million euros, which is what the bank paid to resolve similar allegations with the German tax authority in 2014. UBS also settled similar claims with US authorities for $780 million in 2009 and is currently facing a similar inquiry in Belgium.
UBS announced the French trial in an email statement on Monday, saying:
“We will now have the possibility to respond in detail in a court of law. UBS has made clear that the bank disagrees with the allegations, assumptions and legal interpretations being made. We will continue to strongly defend ourselves and look forward to a fair proceeding.”
If UBS loses at trial, it could face a fine as high as 4.9 billion euros ($5.3 billion).
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