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French prosecutors call for 3.7 billion euro fine against UBS

Kitco News

PARIS (Reuters) - French prosecutors argued in a Paris court on Thursday for Swiss bank UBS AG (UBSG.S) to be fined 3.7 billion euros for helping wealthy French people evade taxes.

After a seven-year investigation and aborted settlement negotiations, UBS faces accusations of laundering the proceeds of tax fraud and illegally soliciting clients in France.

“Tax evasion is nothing more than theft against the community,” prosecutor Eric Russo told the court.

Serge Roque, the trial’s other prosecutor, added: “UBS has deliberately held, handled and managed accounts for people who were evading taxes.”

Under French law, those convicted of money laundering can be ordered to pay a fine worth half the amount laundered. The prosecution estimates UBS’s customers hidden several billion euros from the French tax authorities.

On Wednesday, the lawyer representing the French government asked to be awarded 1.6 billion euros in damages.

UBS has denied wrongdoing.

The prosecution also called for suspended jail sentences ranging from six months to 24 months for six UBS executives and former executives, as well as fines ranging from 50,000 euros to 500,000 euros.

Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry and Inti Landauro; Editing by Luke Baker

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