Swiss bank UBS to be tried in France over tax fraud
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Swiss bank UBS to be tried in France over tax fraud

PARIS (AFP) - Swiss banking giant UBS will go on trial in France for establishing a wide-ranging tax fraud scheme worth billions of euros, legal sources told AFP on Monday.UBS will be charged with illegal banking practices and dissimulating tax fraud, the sources said, adding UBSs French subsidiary will also go on trial for complicity.Five UBS top managers are also facing trial, including Raoul Weil, the former third-in-command at UBS.The French subsidiarys former number two, Patrick de Fayet, has entered a plea bargain procedure, they said.France opened a probe into UBS after former employees blew the whistle over the banks alleged system of setting up dual bookkeeping to hide the movement of capital into Switzerland between 2004 and 2012.The banks staff allegedly approached French clients, from wealthy businessmen to sports stars, during receptions, golf tournaments or concerts to convince them to hide their money in Switzerland.In total, at least 9.76 billion euros ($10.5 billion) were kept from the French tax man, according to the national financial crimes unit.- Aggravated laundering -===========================In June last year, French prosecutors recommended that UBS face trial for aggravated laundering of tax fraud proceeds while its French branch be judged for complicity in these crimes.The move followed failed negotiations over a plea bargain.Those negotiations failed in particular because prosecutors and the bank could not agree on the sum that the bank would have to pay, said one source close to the case.UBS has always denied any wrongdoing, saying there was no proof for its implication in any such alleged scheme.On Monday, it said it rejected both the allegations and the nature of the charges brought, a UBS spokesman told AFP in Paris.The trial will offer the bank the possibility of responding to the accusations brought against it, the spokesman said, adding UBS was hoping for a fair trial.A lawyer for the bank, Denis Chemla, said the charges contained no special surprises and called them unfounded.-

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