Belgium charges Swiss bank UBS with money laundering

A Belgian judge has charged Swiss bank UBS with money laundering and serious and organised tax fraud, Brussels prosecutors said in a statement.

“The Swiss bank is suspected of having directly, and not via its Belgian subsidiary, approached Belgian clients to convince them to set up structures aimed at evading taxes,” Brussels prosecutors said.

“UBS will continue to defend itself against any unfounded allegations,” the bank said in an email.

The Belgian announcement is the latest in a series of investigations by European and US authorities into Swiss banks, where strict secrecy rules had made it a haven for untaxed assets.

Neighbour France placed UBS under formal examination in 2014, and the investigating judges ordered UBS to provide bail of €1.1bn.

Belgian prosecutors said they were able to firm-up the case against UBS, through co-operation with French authorities and the work of an inquiry committee.

In 2014, Belgian police carried out raids at the bank, and at the homes of a client and of UBS Belgium chief executive Marcel Bruehwiler.

Mr Bruehwiler was also charged, at the time. The bank’s Belgian subsidiary, which employed 60 staff, including 20 private bankers, has since been sold to Belgian private bank Puilaetco Dewaay.


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