UBS may have to pay a €4.5bn fine after a French judge found the investment bank guilty of helping rich clients move undeclared funds to Swiss accounts.
The court ruled that the Swiss bank helped French clients evade taxes between 2004 and 2012 and then launder the proceeds.
After an eight year probe into UBS' tax operations, Presiding Judge Christine Mee said she had found “criminal wrongdoings of an exceptionally serious nature.” “These acts were committed behind the veil of opacity.”
UBS said it would appeal the ruling and would not pay the fine until higher courts had confirmed the verdict.
The lender also said that it “has consistently contested any criminal wrongdoing in this case throughout the investigation and during the trial. The charges of laundering the proceeds of tax fraud are without merit, as the predicate offence of an original tax fraud of French tax payers was not proven.”
Nonetheless, it wasn't the first case brought against UBS. The bank accepted a $780m settlement in 2009 and in Germany in 2014 it agreed to pay a €300m.
The bank's shares fell as much as 4.8% after ruling was announced on Wednesday.