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Israel Investigates 'Millions of Euros' Hidden in Swiss Accounts

Thursday, 06 Nov 2014 06:37 AM

Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Israel is investigating whether nationals are evading taxes by hiding money in unreported accounts at Swiss banks including UBS AG and plans to make more arrests, according to the country’s Tax Authority.

Fourteen people including a UBS client adviser have been arrested related to the investigation between June and October. No charges have been filed and all have been released, a spokesman for the authority said today.

“Large Swiss banks are managing accounts belonging to thousands of Israelis holding millions of euros,” the authority said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “The suspicion is that most of the money in the accounts hasn’t been reported to the Tax Authority.”

About one-fifth of the Israeli economy, or 200 billion shekels ($53 billion), is estimated to go unreported, more than twice the U.S. rate, according to a World Bank study. Israeli tax authorities say some of the unreported income is in accounts Israelis maintain abroad.

“There are media reports about ongoing tax investigations of Israeli citizens by the Israeli Tax Authorities,” UBS said in an e-mailed statement. “UBS is not subject to these investigations. We have no further comment on this.”

The UBS adviser was responsible for managing Israeli accounts. He was arrested in Tel Aviv in June and is suspected of intentionally helping clients evade taxes, the Tax Authority said.

According to investigators, the adviser would come to Israel to meet clients because they didn’t use telephones, e- mail, or faxes to communicate with the bank to avoid detection. He was arrested with a client after they met at a Tel Aviv hotel. His hotel room and UBS offices in Israel were searched, and a list of hundreds of Israelis with unreported accounts in Switzerland was found in his possession, according to the Tax Authority.

UBS declined to comment on whether the client adviser is still with the bank, citing company policy.

--With assistance from Elena Logutenkova in Zurich.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alisa Odenheimer in Jerusalem at aodenheimer@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at asalha@bloomberg.net Amy Teibel, Heather Smith

© Copyright 2017 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

 
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2014-37-06
Thursday, 06 Nov 2014 06:37 AM
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