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Tax matters

Madrid requests Spanish citizens’ UBS data from Switzerland

Spain’s tax authorities have made an official request to Switzerland for information on UBS bank account holders in Spain, the bank confirmed on Friday.

"Spanish tax authorities have filed a request for international administrative assistance in tax matters with the Swiss Federal Tax Administration," UBS said in a short statement on its website for the bank's Spanish business.

Switzerland’s largest bank has set up a helpline number for affected clients.

The Spanish request to Switzerland's tax agency follows similar requests from France and the Netherlands earlier this year.

UBS was placed under formal investigation in France in 2014 over allegations that it had helped wealthy French customers evade the taxman. In July 2016, the Swiss tax authority ordered UBS to turn over information linked to a French investigation.

In September 2015, the Dutch authorities requested information on a large number of UBS account holders living in the Netherlands as part of a tax investigation. In September a Swiss court dismissed a complaint from UBS clients about their names being handed to other countries during group requests, clearing the way for the Swiss tax authorities to deliver to the Netherlands information regarding UBS clients.

For years, strict Swiss bank secrecy laws helped the wealthy to keep their money hidden from the taxman. Since the financial crisis, however, cash-strapped governments around the world have clamped down on tax evasion.

Switzerland's Federal Tax Administration and Spain's tax authorities declined to comment to Reuters and the Swiss News Agency. UBS, however, said it had largely completed a compliance programme with clients based in Europe.

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