UBS Not Going To Let France Make An Example Of Its Admittedly Illegal Business Practices

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Did UBS help clients evade taxes for years and years? Yes, it's a Swiss bank and that's what Swiss banks do (did?). Is that any reason for France to go all extortionist on its ass? UBS says no. As an aside, a spokesperson from UBS has suggestion that certain French attorneys ought to go back to law school.

Swiss banking giant UBS must pay a 1.1 billion euro ($1.41 billion) bond, a Paris appeals court said Monday, upholding an earlier decision that is part of a probe into whether the bank helped wealthy French customers evade taxes...UBS said in an emailed statement that it was "very disappointed" by the court's decision and that it would file a fresh appeal with the Supreme Court. "We continue to believe that this is a highly politicized process that from the beginning of the investigation has not followed elementary facets of the rule of law," said UBS. The decision represents a major setback for the bank, which was confident it would be able to settle the matter for considerably less than €100 million, according to a person familiar with the matter. The size of the bail suggests prosecutors are seeking record criminal penalties against the Swiss bank.

UBS's $1.41 Billion Bail Upheld in French Tax Case [WSJ]

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UBS Whistleblower's $104 Million Award Poses Interesting Conundrum For Would-Be Snitches

Remember Bradley Birkenfeld? He's the guy who single-handedly made the U.S. government’s case against UBS and forced the Swiss bank to hand over the names of thousands of tax cheats, which resulted in the US scoring $780 million from UBS and may have inspired some 33,000 Americans to "voluntarily disclose offshore accounts to the IRS, generating more than $5 billion." And yet, despite his assistance, Birkenfeld wasn't immediately thanked for a job well done. Instead, he was sentenced to forty months in prison (fair-ish, considering he showed a few clients how to avoid paying taxes himself) and told to piss off by the Internal Revenue Service, from whom he sought an award, because he was "not forthcoming about his own role in the scheme," even as a Justice Department attorney admitted that "...without Mr. Birkenfeld walking into the door of the Department of Justice in the summer of 2007, I doubt as of today that this massive fraud would have been discovered by the US government" (or as his lawyer put it, "They didn't know how to spell UBS until he showed up. He didn't just give them a piece of the puzzle. He gave them the entire puzzle"). Now, after doing 32 months at Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution, getting let out early on account of "good-time credit," and living in a halfway house in New Hampshire, Birkenfeld has finally been thrown a bone. Bradley Birkenfeld, the former UBS AG banker who told the Internal Revenue Service how the bank helped thousands of Americans evade taxes, secured an IRS award of $104 million, an amount his lawyers said may be the largest ever for a U.S. whistle-blower. Birkenfeld told authorities how UBS bankers came to the U.S. to woo rich Americans, managed $20 billion of their assets, and helped them cheat the IRS. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2008, a year after reporting the bank’s conduct to the Justice Department, U.S. Senate, IRS and Securities and Exchange Commission. He was released from prison Aug. 1...Birkenfeld, 47, worked at Zurich-based UBS, the largest Swiss bank, for five years. He sought a reward from the IRS of as much as 30 percent of any taxes the agency recovered as a result of his whistle-blowing activities. Clearly this whole thing should stir up a few questions inside you all, chief among them: how much money would it take to get you to befriend or get yourself employed with some rogue people so you can blow the whistle on them? Would you do any time for it? If so, how much? And are we talking Club Fed or a place where your roommate spoons you every night? UBS Whistle-Blower Secures $104 Million Award From IRS [Bloomberg]