UBS Tax Case : French High Court Rejects Penalties Against UBS

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UBS Tax Case

In a legal rollercoaster, France’s highest court overturned on Wednesday the financial penalties slapped on Swiss banking giant UBS. The convoluted battle between French authorities and UBS revolved around allegations of aiding affluent clients in evading French taxes.

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UBS Tax Case: A Stunning Reversal

In a dramatic twist, the French Supreme Court not only annulled the penalty segment of a late 2021 appeal court decision but also catapulted the case back into the lap of the appellate judiciary.

Decade-Long Legal Odyssey

This legal odyssey, stretching over a decade, had its roots in French authorities’ scrutiny of UBS since March 2011. The probe focused on the activities of Swiss-based UBS employees on French soil, leading to formal charges in June 2013.

2019 Conviction and Financial Blow

In a pivotal moment in February 2019, a Paris criminal court convicted UBS of unlawfully recruiting clients in France and aiding them in laundering proceeds from tax evasion. The financial repercussions were substantial, with the court upholding a €1 billion confiscation order and awarding €800 million in civil damages to the French state. Additionally, a €3.75 million fine was imposed, albeit reduced from an initial €3.7 billion.

Swiss Resistance and Data Transfer Clash

The pendulum swung further when, in March 2021, Switzerland’s Federal Administrative Court ruled against five UBS clients, clearing the path for their data transfer to France. The Swiss court rebuffed claims of an overly broad data request from France’s Directorate General for Public Finances.

UBS Responds: A Bittersweet Victory

In response to the verdict, UBS released a statement expressing contentment with the Supreme Court’s stance on penalties. However, the bank conveyed disappointment over the court’s affirmation of the lower court’s findings, stating that UBS engaged in unlawful client solicitation and aggravated laundering of tax fraud proceeds.