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German prosecutors launch tax probe against UBS clients
September 27, 2017 / 1:24 PM / in 3 months

German prosecutors launch tax probe against UBS clients

DUESSELDORF (Reuters) - Prosecutors on Wednesday said they have launched an investigation against clients of Swiss bank UBS in Germany on grounds of suspected tax evasion.

The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen on a branch office in Zurich, Switzerland November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/Files

As part of the probe, premises were being searched by up to 130 prosecutors and tax investigators, the Bochum prosecutors said. German magazine WirtschaftsWoche had earlier reported the searches.

A database containing details on 2,000 UBS clients, which was bought by the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, forms the basis of the investigation, the prosecutors said.

Over the past years, the bank has been a regular target of German tax investigators, who have repeatedly bought CDs with client data.

In 2014, UBS paid around 300 million euros ($352 million) to settle claims by authorities in Bochum that it helped wealthy Germans dodge taxes.

Since then, the focus of tax investigators has shifted from the bank to its clients.

UBS said in a statement it did not comment on ongoing investigations but it had largely completed a compliance programme with clients based in Europe.

“The bank was among the first in the industry to take this step requiring documentation of tax disclosure by its clients,” the bank said, adding its business fully complied with the law.

($1 = 0.8519 euros)

Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Additional reporting by Joshua Franklin; Writing by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Christoph Steitz

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