August 7, 2019 / 8:05 AM / 4 months ago

Italian tax authorities ask for information on UBS clients

ZURICH (Reuters) - Italy’s tax authorities have made a request to their Swiss counterparts for information about possible tax evasion by UBS (UBSG.S) clients, Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: People walk past a branch office of Swiss bank UBS in Zurich, Switzerland January 27, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

The Italian authorities are seeking help on Italian residents who held UBS accounts in Switzerland between 2015 and 2016 and who have not given evidence their account were tax compliant.

People covered by the request now have 20 days to make themselves known, the Swiss authorities said.

The bank is facing two separate investigations in Italy and a court case in France over allegations it enabled cross-border tax cheats to hide assets in Switzerland.

Italian prosecutors allege that unidentified UBS managers were responsible for money-laundering because they invested client funds that were the fruit of tax evasion.

The bank agreed in June to pay 101 million euros (£93 million) to resolve a dispute over money laundering and taxes with Italy’s tax authority, according to regulatory filings released with UBS’s second-quarter earnings.

UBS has declined to comment on the settlement. It wasn’t able to comment immediately on the second investigation.

Switzerland’s highest court ruled last month that historical data of about 40,000 UBS clients must be handed to French tax authorities in a landmark case that could set a precedent for foreign governments seeking information from Swiss banks.

UBS has received various disclosure orders from the Swiss Federal Tax Administration based on requests for international administrative assistance in tax matters, a UBS spokeswoman said.

“The bank has completed a tax compliance program with its European clients and implemented the Automatic Exchange of Information as the new international standard,” she added. “UBS was among the first banks in the industry requiring documentation of tax disclosure from its clients.”

Reporting by John Revill, editing by Louise Heavens

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