The Swiss bank UBS is currently facing multiple lawsuits in the US and France and has a former staffer on trial in the UK. The UBS lawsuits could see the bank pay over €3.7bn in fines.
The US Department of Justice filed a case against the bank on 8th November over improper issuance of mortgage securities. The prosecution accuses the bank of causing investors to lose money on the residential mortgage-backed securities it issued from 2006 to 2007.
Jesse Panuccio, the principal deputy associate attorney general said: “The fraudulent actions by UBS as alleged in the complaint contributed to the 2008 financial crisis, which resulted in lasting economic harm to the nation and unnecessary suffering for Americans.
“This suit aims to hold UBS accountable and sends a strong message that the Department of Justice will not tolerate fraud committed by corporations.”
A statement was made by the UBS in response to the US lawsuit: “UBS invested $100 billion in U.S. residential mortgage-related assets and lost more than $45 billion when the housing market collapsed, including losses of nearly $900 million on the RMBS referred to in the complaint – more than the losses on the certificates UBS sold to any other single investor. This fact alone negates any inference that UBS engaged in an intentional fraud that was flatly against its own economic interest.”
The news is a blow to UBS in the US. The bank recently announced it planned to expand its offering among ultra-HNWIs in the US nearly a decade after it was fined $780m by the Department of Justice for helping clients evade taxes.
Tax Evasion in France
Meanwhile French prosecutors are demanding that the Swiss bank pay a fine of €3.7bn on allegations that it helped its clients evade tax.
French prosecutors claimed the bank had helped wealthy French clients to hide money outside of the country.
According to a Reuters report, French prosecutors told the court: “Tax evasion is nothing more than theft in against the community. UBS has deliberately held, handled and managed accounts for people who were evading taxes.”
Prosecutors are also demanding that UBS staff members responsible face prison sentences.
The case has been a result of a seven-year long investigation. In response to the allegations against the bank, UBS called the charges “irrational” in a statement, according to The Financial Times.
Former compliance officer accused in London
A day trader and former compliance officer at UBS UK are currently on trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court accused of insider trading.
Former UBS employee Fabiana Abdel-Malek passed information to day trader Walid Choucair to execute $1.8 million worth of trades between 2013 and 2014 according to The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
This week the court heard that Choucair often spent thousands of pounds on Champagne at Tramp, an exclusive private members club in London.
The case is ongoing.