French regulator fines UBS 10 million euros in tax probe
PARIS (Reuters) - Banking regulator ACP fined the French unit of Swiss bank UBS UBSN.VX 10 million euros ($13.1 million) on Wednesday for failures on internal oversight of products currently being investigated on suspicion of tax fraud.
The fine does not prejudge the judicial probe that is underway, the ACP said in a statement. The prosecutor is formally investigating both UBS and its French business over whether sales staff were offering bank accounts abroad to help clients avoid French taxes.
Switzerland, the world's biggest offshore financial center with $2 trillion in assets, is under massive pressure from the EU and elsewhere to share banking data and stop procedures that other countries say have supported tax evasion.
The ACP said UBS France had dragged its heels following an initial warning in 2007 and had waited 18 months before putting in place necessary oversight of these products.
It also said the bank had not properly tested how its employees were accounting their cross-border activity.
UBS said it disagreed with many of the ACP's conclusions, adding that it would analyze the decision further before deciding whether to appeal.
"UBS does not tolerate any activities intended to help its clients circumvent their tax obligations," the bank added in a statement.
($1 = 0.7649 euros)
(Reporting by Lionel Laurent; editing by Patrick Graham)