Belgium charges UBS with organizing tax evasion

BRUSSELS - A Belgian judge has charged Swiss bank UBS with money laundering and 'serious and organized tax evasion.'

In a statement Friday, Jennifer Vanderputten, the spokesperson for the crown prosecutor, says Switzerland's biggest bank is suspected of directly seeking clients in Belgium with the intention of helping them evade taxes.

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She said the charges were laid, under the supervision of judge Michel Claise, thanks to co-operation with French authorities, and refused to provide additional details.

The head of the Belgian division of UBS was charged in June 2014 on suspicion that he and the firm helped wealthy clients evade billions of euros in taxes.

The suspected criminal activity is thought to have begun more than a decade ago, when UBS clients in Belgium were allegedly helped to reduce their tax payments.

Information that led to the 2014 charges was given by compliance officers who had left UBS or had been fired and no longer supported the bank's tactics.

UBS denied that its Belgian division had ever supported tax evasion.



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