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(Bloomberg) -- French authorities probing whether UBS Group AG helped clients evade taxes issued arrest warrants against three former officials from the bank, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation.
Guillaume Daieff and Serge Tournaire, the investigating judges leading the probe, issued the arrest warrants in January after the three bankers didn’t appear when summoned for questioning, the person said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.
Serge Steiner, a spokesman for UBS in Zurich, declined to comment when reached by phone. The names of the former officials haven’t been disclosed.
UBS had to pay a security deposit of 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in September to cover a potential criminal penalty should it be sent to trial and found guilty. The bank, the world’s largest manager of money for the wealthy, lost its appeal against the bail amount and has said it would ask the European Court of Human Rights to overturn it.
Daieff and Tournaire have also summoned Bradley Birkenfeld, the former UBS banker who won a $104 million whistle-blower award after serving time in U.S. prison for tax conspiracy, to testify in the case.
French President Francois Hollande has increased efforts to crack down on tax fraud since his former budget minister, Jerome Cahuzac, was forced to resign after his secret Swiss account was exposed. UBS denounced the investigation last year as a “highly politicized process.”
UBS and its French subsidiary were charged in mid-2013, accused of illegally soliciting clients in France. The local unit was fined 10 million euros in June of that year by the banking regulator and reprimanded for control lapses that may have enabled some clients to evade taxes. In July, the judges also put UBS under investigation for laundering the proceeds of tax fraud.
Agence France-Presse reported the arrest warrants earlier.
To contact the reporters on this story: Fabio Benedetti-Valentini in Paris at email@example.com; Jeffrey Vögeli in Zurich at firstname.lastname@example.org To contact the editors responsible for this story: Elisa Martinuzzi at email@example.com Heather Smith