By Inti Landauro and Emmanuel Jarry
PARIS (Reuters) – Swiss coffer UBS Group AG <UBSG.S>, its French assemblage and six admiral faced accuse of aggravated tax artifice and money bed-making on Monday, the aboriginal day of a balloon into allegations they helped affluent audience abstain taxes in France.
After seven years of ysis and aborted adjustment negotiations, UBS will additionally acknowledgment allegations that it illegally solicited audience in France. It risks actuality fined up to 5 billion euros ($5.76 billion) additional abeyant amercement to the French taxman for the missing revenue.
On the aboriginal day of the cloister audition on Monday, the defendants’ attorneys aloft technicalities to try to get the cloister to bead the money bed-making accuse and absolute the affairs to tax fraud, which carries lighter penalties.
UBS’s advocate Jean Veil said the French accompaniment was allurement for 1.6 billion euros in damages, which he told the cloister was excessive.
“They are allurement crazy amounts,” he told the court.
UBS, Switzerland’s better bank, has said it intends to durably avert its position.
“After added than six years of acknowledged proceedings, we will assuredly accept the befalling to acknowledge to the generally unfounded allegations that were frequently leaked to the media, in bright abuse of the anticipation of chastity and the acknowledged acquaintance of the process,” UBS said in a account advanced of the trial. The coffer said it would assets its arguments for the court.
Banks accept become added accurate afterwards the 2008 cyberbanking crisis and the cyberbanking scandals that followed, while tighter regulations accept affected the industry to become added cautious, ysts say.
UBS’s balloon in France follows a agnate administrative action in the United States, area the coffer in 2009 accustomed to pay $780 actor in a settlement. In Germany, UBS agreed to a 300 actor euro accomplished in 2014.
During the French investigation, UBS angry bottomward a adjustment action of 1.1 billion euros fabricated by the authorities. The bulk corresponded to what the Swiss coffer had already paid as a cloister bond, according to administrative sources.
The ysis into UBS in the United States began afterwards agent Bradley Birkenfeld appear a arrangement to carry affluent customers’ banknote from the United States to Switzerland, bypassing the U.S. taxman.
Birkenfeld batten alone to French investigators. Even admitting he is not due to affirm in cloister in Paris he intends to appear all the hearings.
The bigmouth told Reuters that he hoped for a abundant amends for the Swiss bank. “If they set an archetype with UBS, best added banks will be scared,” he said.
For money laundering, French bent law lets board accomplish fines as aerial as bisected the bulk laundered. In the French case, prosecutors appraisal that up to 10.6 billion euros was denied to the French tax authorities.
The cloister audition is due to resume on Thursday and the case is appointed to abide until Nov. 15.
($1 = 0.8675 euros)
(Reporting by Inti Landauro, Emmanuel Jarry and Angelika Gruber; alteration by Richard Lough, Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman)
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