French court rejects constitutional challenge by UBS in tax case

Judges will rule in September on the bank’s appeal against a €4.5 billion fine © Keystone / Melanie Duchene

A French court has rejected a challenge filed by Swiss bank UBS linked to constitutional aspects of its French tax case. This confirms that judges will rule in September on the bank’s appeal against a €4.5 billion (CHF4.9 billion) fine.

This content was published on June 28, 2021

UBS is looking to overturn a 2019 French court ruling in which it was found guilty of soliciting clients illegally at sporting events and parties in France, and of laundering the proceeds of tax evasion.

“We acknowledge this decision. We are awaiting the September 27 ruling with a serene mind,” UBS lawyer Hervé Temime told journalists on Monday.

Whistleblower testimony

During the appeal case in Paris, which lasted from March 8 to March 24, UBS insisted that there was insufficient evidence to convict the bank of deliberately soliciting tax evaders to hide their assets in Switzerland. It said that exclusive events it hosted between 2004 and 2012 were for marketing purposes, similar to the activities of other banks.

But the prosecution insisted that the original guilty verdict was correct, pointing to testimony from several whistleblowers.

On the conclusion of the hearing, judges said they would give decisions on certain legal points in June and deliver a final verdict three months later.

UBS has so far set aside €450 million in legal provisions to cover the cost of the case.

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