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Belgium charges Swiss banking giant with fraud

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Belgium charges Swiss banking giant with fraud
Photo: Martin Abegglen
12:09 CET+01:00
Belgium on Friday charged Swiss banking giant UBS with "serious and organised" fiscal fraud for encouraging clients to cheat on their taxes, as well as being involved in money laundering.

"The Swiss bank is suspected of having approached Belgian clients directly (without going through its Belgian unit) with the aim of getting them to sign up to tax evasion products," the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement.
   
It said the charge sheet covered criminal activity involving "money laundering, illegally acting as a financial intermediary in Belgium, and serious and organised fiscal fraud."
   
The charges followed "excellent cooperation" with the French authorities, the statement said, adding that no further details would be released for the moment.
   
Last week, French judges completed an investigation into allegations that UBS and its local unit had encouraged clients to open accounts in Switzerland so as to avoid the tax authorities during the period 2004-12.
   
UBS has been embroiled in a whole series of similar cases, most notably in the United States where the authorities said the bank allowed US customers to conceal their assets and income from the taxman.

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