Money laundering at UBS

After the Swiss Bank Credit Suisse was convicted of tax fraud and fined a penalty of 2.6 Billion dollars in the United States, a second Swiss bank is now in the sights of the authorities.

The Brussels public prosecutor’s office on the evening of the 19 June 2014 stated that a legal case had been made against Marcel Claudia Wettstein, head of the Belgian UBS branch.1 This is due to the illicit commercial practices of the bank, which were investigated by compliance officers.2 “The preliminary investigations provide evidence for institutional practices which appear to enable fraudulent tax evasion”, the Public Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.3 The investigation was also undertaken due to suspicions of membership in a criminal organization, money laundering and illegal practices of the profession of financial intermediary.2

According to Spiegel Online’s Claudia Wettstein, wealthy Belgians have opened accounts in Switzerland for many years, in order to avoid tax payments to the Belgian authorities. Also in France and Germany, UBS is suspected to have helped customers in undertaking tax evasion measures.3

What the consequences for the UBS-boss are as a result of the procedure,  remains to be seen. 


  1. Handelsblatt: Belgium opens proceedings against UBS bankers. Available at: http://www.handelsblatt.com/unternehmen/banken/steuerbetrug-belgien-eroeffnet-verfahren-gegen-ubs-banker/10075324.html last reviewed on: 06.23.2014 . []
  2. The Presse.com: UBS Banker accused of money laundering. Available at: http://diepresse.com/home/wirtschaft/international/3824676/UBSManager-der-Geldwaesche-beschuldigt?_vl_backlink=/home/wirtschaft/ last reviewed on: 06.23.2014 . [] []
  3. Spiegel Online: tax evasion and money laundering: authorities search apartment of Belgien-Chef of UBS. Available at: http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/unternehmen/belgien-chef-der-ubs-wegen-verdacht-auf-geldwaesche-festgenommen-a-976229.html last reviewed on 07.03.2014. [] []
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