A unit of the Swiss bank UBS has been placed under formal investigation in France following allegations that it designed investments to help its clients evade taxes.
The move comes more than a year after an inquiry was opened regarding the bank’s operations in France, a UBS executive briefed on the matter said Sunday. A handful of UBS executives have been put under investigation since the inquiry began in 2012.
UBS has been dogged for years by regulators who allege that it has helped wealthy individuals dodge taxes, and has successfully settled some of these charges. For instance, the bank agreed to a $780 million fine in 2009 with the U.S. authorities to settle charges that it had helped its American clients to hide funds.
But other countries continue to pursue their own cases against UBS. The executive, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said that while the decision was disappointing for the bank, it was not unexpected.These excerpts are cryptic, but, as described, they echo the types of sophisticated shelters in our recent past where the sheltering was done through complex financial arrangements orchestrated by financial services firms and tax professionals.