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CORRUPTION

Former UBS banker charged with selling client data

Switzerland has charged a former employee of the country's largest bank UBS with allegedly selling German authorities the files of wealthy clients suspected of tax evasion, officials and media said on Tuesday.

Former UBS banker charged with selling client data
File photo: Martin Abegglen

The man is accused of violating banking secrets, according to Switzerland's public ministry, as well as involvement in espionage and money laundering.
   
The charges were first revealed on Tuesday by the Swiss-German newspapers Tages Anzeiger and Der Bund.
   
They reported that in 2012, the banker allegedly sold information on the bank's richest German clients to the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
   
The data would have allowed the German authorities to identify the accounts of 772 foundations and 550 private individuals.
   
North Rhine-Westphalia has bought stolen information several times over the past few years concerning people allegedly trying to evade taxes by not declaring money deposited in Swiss bank accounts, recovering around 2.1 billion euros ($2.4 billion) through these means.
   
UBS and other Swiss banks have faced investigations in recent years by governments trying to hunt down tax-dodgers.
   
UBS has had to pay a fine of 300 million euros in Germany, while Credit-Suisse was fined 150 million euros and private Zurich bank Julius Baer 50 million euros.

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FOOTBALL

Trial over 2006 German World Cup corruption opens in Switzerland

Three former German football officials and ex-FIFA Secretary General Urs Linsi went on trial on Monday in Switzerland over suspicions that Germany bought votes to obtain the 2006 World Cup.

Trial over 2006 German World Cup corruption opens in Switzerland
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The three defendants have indicated that they will not be present at the hearing in Bellinzona for a variety of reasons, including fear of travelling because of coronavirus contagion.

Swiss Linsi, 70, former German Football Association (DFB) presidents Wolfgang Niersbach, 69, and Theo Zwanziger, 74, and 78-year-old former DFB General Secretary Horst R. Schmidt are being prosecuted for “fraud”.

They are accused by the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office (BA) of concealing from the DFB the true destination of a transfer of 6.7 million euros ($7.6 million today), paid in 2005 by the organising committee to former Adidas boss, the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, via FIFA.

The case of former World Cup organising committee chairman Franz Beckenbauer is being heard separately because of the former Germany captain's poor health.

The investigation was prompted by a report in German publication Der Spiegel in 2015 that Germany had used a secret fund of 10 million Swiss francs (6.7 million euros at the time) to buy votes and obtain the rights to host the competition at the expense of South Africa.

Beckenbauer is suspected of having asked Louis-Dreyfus, to contribute to this fund shortly before the vote on the host in the summer of 2000.

Louis-Dreyfus was allegedly reimbursed by the German Football Association on the pretext of expenses related to a FIFA gala evening, which ever took place.

Zwanziger, Niersbach and Schmidt have also been charged with tax fraud in Germany and the case is expected to come to trial in the coming months. cpb/pb/td

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