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Day after search UBS says not target of German tax evasion probe

UBS said the investigation by the German authorities was not related to a criminal or civil proceeding against bank

(Keystone)

Swiss bank UBS says it is not the subject of a German investigation into suspected tax evasion, after a search of its Frankfurt offices on Wednesday.

No documents were taken at UBS’s offices during the search, which was part of an investigation into suspected tax evasion by UBS clients. 

“The investigation of the German authorities is not related to a criminal or civil proceeding against UBS,” the bank said. 

According to the Wirtschaftswoche magazine, the search operations which involved around 130 agents were carried on UBS offices throughout the country from Tuesday onwards. The information was confirmed by UBS, which stated that it was cooperating with German officials. 

A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said that “thorough investigations are being carried out against a series of suspects throughout Germany”. 

In recent years, the bank has been a target of German tax investigators, who have repeatedly bought CDs with client data. 

In 2014, UBS paid around 300 million euros ($352 million) to settle claims by authorities in Bochum that it helped wealthy Germans dodge taxes. 

Wednesday's search was reportedly prompted by data purchased by the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia from an informant that includes bank details of nearly 2,000 clients. 

In 2016, North Rhine-Westphalia shared details of a hard drive sent anonymously by post that contained three bundles of data. One bundle concerns foundations and shell companies with Swiss banks and affects seven countries. Another bundle deals with around 160,000 accounts in Luxembourg banks. The third bundle concerns internal documents of a “large European bank” that could potentially point European authorities to financial fraud.

swissinfo.ch and agencies/ac

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