Swiss bank UBS may find itself in hot water as a Belgian magistrate judge continues an investigation into the bank’s possible involvement in fraud, money laundering and other criminal activities related to helping wealthy individuals avoid taxes, The New York Times reported late last week.
The Brussels prosecutor’s office said the bank is accused of reaching out directly to Belgian clients on the premise of encouraging them to participate in transactions meant to evade taxes.
While the bank has acknowledged the inquiry, a spokesman told NYT that the accusations are speculative.
“We take note of various articles in the press, which indicate that an official investigation will be conducted,” a UBS spokesman stated. “UBS will continue to defend itself against any unfounded allegations.”
UBS faced a similar investigation in France in 2014, where the bank was ordered to post a bail of more than $1 billion after being accused of helping French clients cover funds from the national tax administration from 2004 to 2012, using money laundering and tax fraud tactics.
According to NYT, the Belgian authorities said they received “excellent cooperation” from authorities in France in making their case against the big bank.
Also in 2014, UBS Chief Executive of Belgian Business Marcel Bruehwiler was subsequently charged with money laundering and additional crimes after authorities raided his home, the home of a client and the bank itself.