(Adds detail, UBS comment, background)
DUESSELDORF, Germany/ZURICH Nov 12 German state
prosecutors have begun a country-wide search of premises of UBS
clients on suspicion of tax evasion, Bochum state
prosecutors said on Monday.
A number of state prosecutors and about 50 tax investigators
were undertaking the searches of domestic German clients of UBS,
Bochum state prosecutor Norbert Salamon said, adding that
further action could follow.
UBS is one of several Swiss banks caught up in
investigations into personal tax evasion in the United States
and Europe, putting the future of Swiss banking secrecy laws in
Bochum prosecutors had already been carrying out an
investigation based on a computer disk of data that was
purchased by authorities in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia
(NRW), where Bochum is located.
"UBS does not provide support to its clients for the evasion
of tax obligations," a UBS spokesman said, adding that the Swiss
bank had already conducted thorough checks of its business in
Germany in 2009 and adjusted its rules where necessary.
NRW's finance ministry has said it has purchased six CDs of
Swiss data since 2010 that point to possible German tax evaders.
UBS is also being probed by state prosecutors in the city of
Mannheim over allegations of helping clients to evade
The bank denied any wrongdoing in response to the Mannheim
Earlier this year a number of French offices of UBS were
searched as part of a probe into the alleged aiding of tax
In August UBS denied media reports it was telling wealthy
Germans to move funds to Singapore and other money centres ahead
of a Swiss tax deal due to come into force in January.
(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi in Duesseldorf and Oliver Hirt
in Zurich; Writing by Jonathan Gould; Editing by Helen