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France

UBS to appeal record 3.7bn euro fine for fraud

French authorities estimate that during seven years 10bn euros had been kept away from tax officials.
French authorities estimate that during seven years 10bn euros had been kept away from tax officials. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

A Paris court has fined the Swiss bank UBS a record 3.7 billion euros for tax fraud. Lawyers for the bank, which was convicted of illegally helping French clients to hide billions of euros from the tax authorities, said they would lodge an appeal

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UBS had tried to negotiate a settlement to avoid the potentially embarrassing court showdown, before failing to agree on a fine with prosecutors.

The trial opened last autumn after seven years of investigations which started after former employees came forward with claims of unlawful conduct.

French authorities ultimately discovered that more than 10 billion euros had been kept from their tax officials between 2004 and 2012.

The National Financial Prosecutor's office has said the bank and its directors were aware that they were breaking French law by unlawfully soliciting clients and helping them evade French taxes.

UBS's French subsidiary was also fined 15 million euros for complicity.

The court also awarded the French state, itself a plaintiff, 800 million euros in damages.

UBS, which was ordered to post 1.1 billion euros in bail, had denied the charges and said its operations complied with Swiss law.

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