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UBS raided in money-laundering probe of Russian

UBS Frankfurt
UBS headquarters in Frankfurt Keystone / Michael Probst

Police have searched two branches of Swiss bank UBS in Germany in connection with alleged money laundering by a Russian businessman, according to German officials and media.

On Tuesday Frankfurt prosecutor Georg Ungefuk did not identify the suspect by name, but said the raids were connected to an investigation in which officials raided a luxury yacht and two dozen properties in Germany in September.

Spiegel news magazineExternal link cited Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin who is subject to US and European Union sanctions, as the target in that operation.

An Usmanov spokesperson categorically rejected the allegations, describing them as unfounded, false and defamatory.

“The businessman is a law-abiding and conscientious taxpayer who has paid taxes in Russia,” the spokesperson said, declining to comment on whether the searches were related to Usmanov.

Shares down

Ungefuk stressed that the bank was not under investigation. He said the raids were conducted to find possible evidence of money laundering by the suspect. He did not identify which bank was raided, but German news agency dpa reported that officers entered UBS branches in Frankfurt and Munich.

“We confirm that searches by the public prosecutor are currently taking place at the premises of the UBS Europe SE branches in Frankfurt and Munich,” a bank spokesperson told dpa. “We are cooperating fully with the authorities and ask for your understanding that we cannot comment further on the matter at this time.”

Officials said previously that the subject of their investigation was suspected of conducting several transactions between 2017 and 2022 that involved using a complex network of offshore companies to hide the origin of funds totalling millions of euros.

Usmanov, who is active across a range of business sectors and has a net worth of $14.6 billion (CHF14.5 billion) according to Forbes, is at the centre of two separate investigations into his finances in Germany.

Shares in Switzerland’s largest bankExternal link fell around 1.5% after the news was reported but later regained ground.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR