A French court ruling has imposed a massive fine of up to 4.5 billion euros on Swiss banking group UBS, which is the biggest fine to ever be handed out by a court in France.
The court ruled that UBS was guilty of facilitating services deliberately and illegally to its customers so that they could conceal bank deposits and assets from French tax authorities, so as to avoid paying taxes.
Specifically, UBS is being called on to pay a fine of 3.7 billion euros, along with another 800 million euros in compensation to the French state.
In an announcement, UBS denies the charges and claims that the court ruling is not based on tangible evidence, but on complaints of former employees.
The conviction does not put to an end to the huge case of money laundering and tax avoidance as the bank will exercise its right to make an appeal.
According to French law, those convicted of money laundering can be called on to pay a fine equivalent to 50% of the money involved.
The fine on the Swiss bank could have been larger as the demand of the French authorities was much bigger, amounting to 5.3 billion euros, comprising of a 3.7 billion euro fine and 1.6 million euros of damages.