French judicial authorities probing Swiss bank UBS over allegations that it illegally sold products designed to avoid French taxes have visited the bank’s Paris headquarters for the second time in just over a year, a UBS spokesman has confirmed.
In June, UBS was placed under formal investigation for alleged complicity in suspected illegal sales practices, as governments and regulators worldwide crack down on tax evasion.
“As part of the inquiry opened in February 2012, investigating magistrate Guillaume Daieff has conducted an on-site visit of the Paris headquarters of UBS France,” the UBS spokesman said in an email to Reuters news agency, adding it was the second visit of this kind since September 2012.
“It is normal procedure for this type of probe. UBS France, which seeks total transparency, gave its backing. UBS France will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities.”
At issue is whether UBS offered potential French clients investments that prosecutors allege were designed to evade taxes.
The authorities are pursuing allegations from a former executive that Swiss bank accounts were being illegally sold on French soil and recorded in a separate account-keeping system used to help calculate bankers’ bonuses.
In an interview with Reuters in June, UBS France Chief Executive Jean-Frederic de Leusse said an internal review at UBS France had yet to find evidence of law-breaking.
Prosecutors have separately questioned de Leusse and also placed the French unit under investigation.
swissinfo.ch and agencies