On February 20, 2019, the Paris criminal court found Swiss bank UBS guilty of illegally soliciting French clients and laundering the proceeds of tax fraud, and imposed a record fine of EUR 3.7 billion.

The Paris criminal court (32nd chamber of the Tribunal de grande instance) followed the prosecution’s case, which had requested a fine of EUR 3.7 billion against UBS AG – the highest amount ever imposed by French courts. In addition, UBS AG’s French subsidiary was fined EUR 15 million (again, following the amount requested by the prosecution), and five out of the six former executives or managers of UBS who were charged were sentenced to suspended prison terms ranging from 6 to 18 months and fines ranging from EUR 50,000 to EUR 300,000. Finally, the court ordered UBS AG and its French subsidiary to pay EUR 800 million in damages to the French State, which had joined the criminal proceedings as a civil party.

This decision sheds further light on the heightened scrutiny that French criminal authorities impose on actors of the financial sector with respect to suspicions of financial misconduct.

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