US authorities have launched a new probe into whether Swiss banking giant UBS helped Americans evade taxes through investments in bearer securities, the Wall Street Journal reported.
UBS, which paid US$780 million in 2009 to settle a separate Justice Department tax-evasion probe, is in being investigated again for allegedly helping wealthy clients hide assets through bearer bonds, the paper said, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The securities, which were largely phased out of the US financial system beginning in 1982 because of their potential use in tax evasion and money laundering, allow holders of the certificates to anonymously claim their value, the report noted.
Prosecutors are weighing evidence gathered with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine whether UBS employees helped facilitate tax evasion or engaged in securities fraud, the report said.
Investigators believe some potential misdeeds occurred after the expiration of UBS’ 2009 agreement with the Justice Department, which resolved its previous tax-evasion case and put off any related prosecution as long as the bank didn’t get into additional trouble in the following 18 months.
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