France tells Swiss UBS to hand over tax details, but bank pushes for legal clarity

Hayley Kirton
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The bank believes "the legal grounds for this request are ambiguous at best" (Source: Getty)

UBS has been ordered to hand over tax information to the French authorities, the bank revealed today.

A statement from UBS revealed that it had received a disclosure order from the Swiss Federal Tax Administration, on behalf of the tax authorities in France, concerning accounts of both current and former French domiciled clients, based on data from 2006 and 2008.

However, the statement also revealed that UBS had voiced concerns "that the legal grounds for this request are ambiguous at best".

"To ensure legal clarity UBS also plans to take legal steps to have the admissibility of the administrative assistance request evaluated by the Swiss Federal Administrative Court," the statement continued.

Read more: Frankie says relax: UBS bankers get two hours of personal time every week

The Swiss bank also pointed out that it had taken steps to inform the clients concerned of what was happening and that a large number of accounts covered by the request were now closed.

UBS also remarked that the most recent request was off the back of information previously collected by the German authorities. As that information seems to have been shared with other European countries, the bank has said that it would not be surprised if similar such demands from other jurisdictions were to follow.

In 2014, the French authorities placed UBS under formal examination on allegations it helped its clients to avoid tax, with judges demanding the bank pay bail of €1.1bn (£940m).

However, earlier this year, the bank won the backing of the European Court of Human Rights to challenge parts of the French ruling, after France's appeal court and the French Supreme Court turned away appeals against the bail.

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