The UBS Conviction: The Dawn of a New Era in France?

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Saturday, March 16, 2019
Frederick T. Davis

On February 20, 2019, the Tribunal de Grande Instance sitting in Paris, France, convicted Swiss banking giant UBS AG and its French subsidiary UBS France, as well as five of their officers, of crimes relating to evasion of French taxes. Weighing in at 217 pages, the criminal judgment is a blockbuster in several respects: The total corporate fines and civil damages imposed, of over 4 billion Euros, are by far the largest ever imposed in France on a corporation.  The conviction may signal a new era of corporate criminal prosecution in France with far-reaching consequences for transnational law enforcement.  And along the way, the Court addressed several procedural issues of interest in France and elsewhere.