Investigation underway on unreported Swiss accounts


Many Israelis are suspected of holding unreported banks accounts at UBS and there has been many arrests.

Haifa Magistrates Court Judge Orit Kantor today permitted disclosure of the Israel Tax Authority's wide-ranging secret investigation of accounts held by Israelis in Swiss banks.

Information and records obtained by the Tax Authority show that large banks in Switzerland are managing accounts for thousands of Israelis with an aggregate total of hundreds of millions of euros. It is suspected that the vast majority of the money held in the accounts is not being reported to the Tax Authority.

The investigation is continuing, and further arrests are expected.

14 suspects have been arrested so far, including a senior investment advisor at Swiss bank UBS and 12 Israelis having accounts at the bank, including two suspects who own a chain of overseas clinics with a volume of activity amounting to €40 million registered in tax havens. The two suspects, who formerly managed a chain of clinics for treating impotence in Israel and moved their business overseas, concealed the fact that the clinics were managed and controlled from Israel. The chain's payroll accountant is also a suspect.

The tax assessment office for Haifa and the north is conducting the investigation, assisted by the Tel Aviv State Attorney's Office for Taxation and Economics and the classified intelligence unit for serious crimes in the Tax Authority.

The UBS investment advisor who directly handles bank accounts of Israelis was arrested on June 26, 2014. The investigation indicates that he visited Israel for secret meetings with clients who refrained from giving instructions and documents to the bank by telephone, e-mail, or fax in order to avoid exposing their ownership of accounts at UBS Switzerland. A day before his arrest, he visited Israel, and met Israeli clients the following day, accompanied by a senior team head from UBS Switzerland.

The meetings were secretly monitored by Tax Authority investigators. During the meetings, held in a Tel Aviv luxury hotel, the two UBS officials met with one of the clinic owners. When the meeting ended, all the participants were arrested.

When the arrests were made, searches were held of the hotel room of the senior UBS official, the offices of the UBS offices in Israel, and other locations. During the searches, lists of hundreds of Israelis with unreported bank accounts in Switzerland were found among the possessions of the UBS official, who was directly responsible for dealing with the accounts. He is suspected of deliberately helping his clients to evade reporting and payment of taxes.

The Tax Authority is currently investigating additional clients whose particulars were discovered on the lists seized from the senior UBS investment advisor, and on other lists collected in the Authority's widespread intelligence activities.

10 additional suspects were arrested in recent months, including the owner of a Tel Aviv law firm suspected of concealing his bank account of over $1 million at UBS, while also deliberately not reporting it in his declaration of capital in order to evade paying taxes.

The investigation continues, but no indictments have yet been made.

UBS said in response, "There are media reports about ongoing tax investigations of Israeli citizens by the Israeli Tax Authorities. UBS (neither UBS AG nor UBS Israel) is not subject to these investigations. We have no further comment on this."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on November 5, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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