UBS Group, among Swiss banks struggling to pull away from a past of helping clients dodge taxes, has said it has received an order from Swiss tax authorities to provide information related to a French request for assistance on tax matters.
The order concerns UBS account numbers pertaining to current and former French domiciled clients and is based on data from 2006 and 2008, the Zurich-based bank said yesterday.
The request from France is based on information received from German authorities, who seized data as part of their own tax probe.
“The bank has expressed its concerns to the FTA that the legal grounds for this request are ambiguous at best,” UBS said, referring to the Federal Tax Administration.
“To ensure legal clarity” UBS will ask the Swiss Federal Administrative Court to review the admissibility of the information, it said. UBS expects other countries to file similar requests, it said.
In 2009, UBS paid $780m (€700m) to the US to avoid prosecution, admitting it helped thousands of Americans to evade taxes and agreeing to turn over information on their accounts.
The bank also paid about €300m to Germany in 2014 to settle a tax probe.
It is understood that French prosecutors are recommending that UBS and its French unit face a criminal trial over allegations it helped clients evade taxes following a probe that caused the bank to post a €1.1bn bail to cover a potential penalty.
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