The Swiss bank UBS has been fined EUR 3.7 billion in a French tax and money laundering case. The company also has to pay 800 million euros in damages to the French state, the judge in Paris has decided. The Swiss are going to appeal.

According to the judge, the financial group has helped thousands of French people “systematically” to evade tax by putting the money on secret Swiss bank accounts. That happened between 2004 and 2012. How much capital UBS helped to hide in those years is unclear: the estimates range from 8 to 23 billion euros.

The judge called the actions of the Swiss bank “criminal and of an exceptionally serious nature”. UBS would have sent special account managers from its head office in Basel to France, to convince rich French people at receptions, sports and cultural events to put their belongings in a Swiss vault, out of sight of the French tax authorities.

The fine that UBS now gets imposed is, according to Le Monde, the highest ever of its kind. In the United States, the Swiss were also guilty of a legal offense for the same offense, with a fine of 685 million euros in 2009. According to one of the lawyers of the bank, the French case “can last for years. This was only a first stage. ”

The UBS share fell deep in the red after the verdict, to -3.5% at three o’clock.

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