A Court in Paris levied a $5.1bn fine on UBS AG, and UBS SA (FRANCE), for money laundering, Illicit Solicitation, and Laundering the Proceeds of Tax Fraud. The fine was specifically for €3.7bn, plus 15m EUR, and eight hundred million Euros in civil damages. This fine exceeded UBS' reported a net profit for 2018, which was the equivalent of $4.9bn.
The bank has stated that it denies committing any criminal misconduct, and asserted that there is no evidence to support this ruling. It also alleged that "there was no offence committed in France," raising the defence of Swiss sovereignty. It stated that it will appeal the ruling.
The Court convicted the bank of soliciting high net-worth clients to assist them in tax evasion. It stated that UBS conducted the same covert tactics to solicit clients that it has done previously in the United States; sending its officers to sporting events and gatherings where large numbers of high net-worth individuals typically gather and concealing their bank affiliation in a stealthy manner. The officers were operating under instructions to be covert; they were not authorized to solicit business in France.
Readers who wish to read the bank's response may access the English language press release here.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant