German prosecutors search UBS's local offices in tax probe

FRANKFURT Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:21am EDT

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FRANKFURT Oct 22 (Reuters) - German tax inspectors have just spent 11 days searching the Frankfurt offices of Swiss wealth manager UBS as part of a probe into possible tax evasion by the bank's clients, a spokesman for the prosecutor in Mannheim, said on Tuesday.

The move is part of a broader campaign by the German authorities to fight tax evasion, following similar raids to unearth possible untaxed funds hidden in accounts at Credit Suisse and Julius Baer.

Credit Suisse paid 150 million euros ($205.13 million) in 2011 to end an investigation of its employees in Duesseldorf over allegations that they helped Germans dodge taxes. Julius Baer struck a similar deal, while UBS has yet to do the same.

On October 8, two prosecutors and 50 staff searched the UBS offices in Frankfurt as well as the private premises of some bank staff, the spokesman for the Mannheim prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Four members of staff are being investigate on suspicion of helping clients to evade taxes, and a dozen clients are under investigation for suspected tax evasion, the spokesman said.

Tax investigators were at the UBS premises from Oct. 8 until Oct. 17 looking at asset flows, the Mannheim prosecutor's office said.

"We are looking at the transfer of a seven-digit-figure amount," the spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for UBS said the bank is cooperating with the authorities, adding that the probe by prosecutors is part of an investigation into asset flows which has been underway since 2012.

"Internal investigations into the matter have shown no signs of inappropriate behaviour on the part of UBS Deutschland AG. We in no way support client actions to evade taxes," she said. ($1=0.7312 euros) (Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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