French prosecutors ask for 3.7 bln euros against Swiss banking giant UBS over alleged tax fraud

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-09 05:26:26|Editor: yan
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PARIS, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- French prosecutors on Thursday called for 3.7 billion euros (4.2 billion U.S. dollars) against Swiss banking giant UBS for aggravated tax fraud and money laundering, local business newspaper Les Echos reported.

The National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) argued that the group must be "punished for wittingly offering French citizens the opportunity to hide their assets", according to the report.

The prosecutors also asked for suspended jail sentences up to 24 months for six UBS executives and former executives, as well as fines ranging from 50,000 euros to 500,000 euros.

"Tax evasion is nothing more than theft against the community," prosecutor Eric Russo was quoted as saying.

According to two investigative judges Serge Tournaire and Guillaume Daieff, the bank has allowed its French rich clients to evade French taxes whose total value was estimated at 10 billion euros for the 2004-2012 period.

Furthermore, local magazine, L'Express, reported that the mission of some of UBS's bankers consisted in "seducing potential clients they invited to social openings, golf-related events or sports cars and tennis tournaments, evenings at the opera, which they co-organized and co-financed with the French subsidiary."

In a statement, UBS rejected "irrational" fine, saying its was calculated "from a simplistic approach taking into account the total amount of assets regulated by French taxpayers without any evidence of the offenses charged".

"The bank vigorously contests this approach and more generally any criminal liability in this case, and this since the beginning of the investigation," it added.