Wednesday, January 27, 2021

UBS appeal in $4.9 billion fine postponed because of coronavirus

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UBS Group AG appeal of a record 4.5 billion-euro ($4.9 billion) French fine for helping clients stash undeclared funds in offshore accounts was postponed over concerns related to coronavirus pandemic, according to people familiar with the case.

Judges at the Paris Court of Appeals postponed the case, originally scheduled for June, due to the lockdown caused by the coronavirus, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the court hasn’t publicly released the decision. A new date for the case will be set at a court hearing later this year.

The Swiss lender was convicted in February 2019 of laundering customers’ undeclared funds, and dispatching bankers across the border to seek out new clients even though they lacked the paperwork to offer such services in France.

The case is part of a French crackdown on tax fraud and money laundering operated through Switzerland that’s seen the conviction of a former minister and HSBC Holdings Plc pay 300 million euros to settle a case.

UBS declined to comment. The Swiss bank has consistently contested any criminal wrongdoing in the case throughout the investigation and during the initial trial.

French appeals are more like re-trials than in other countries such as the U.S. and U.K.

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