UBS France under investigation over marketing practices

UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, is under investigation in France following a complaint over its marketing practices.

The bank said it noted press reports suggesting that UBS France would be subject to an investigation related to marketing practices, but it could not comment further about such an enquiry. It also strongly denied involvement in any tax evasion scheme.

“UBS France neither initiated a system of aiding tax evasion nor took part in one in any form whatsoever,” an email statement said, adding: “UBS has established especially strict rules to ensure that its employees abide by all the laws of the countries in which the bank does business.”

According to some reports an initial investigation into the complaint was started in February to determine whether a fuller probe was needed.

The bank has faced controversy over practices in the past. In February 2009, it agreed to pay $780m to settle a civil and criminal tax fraud case in which it was charged by the US government of having helped thousands of American clients to use Swiss accounts to evade US taxes. As part of a settlement, the bank also agreed to hand over information on some of the thousands of names requested by the US authorities.

In May this year, the bank agreed to pay $160.3m to settle charges that employees had rigged bids for investments in US state and local governments bond markets. The employees and former employees were charged with having conspired to drive work to favoured brokers with secret deals and bogus bids.

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