UBS Sued by New Orleans Employees’ Retirement System for Alleged Tax Scam that Helped the Rich While Causing Investor Losses

In the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, UBS AG was named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit alleging that the company engaged in a tax scam designed to help rich US investor avoid federal taxes. The plaintiff in the case is the New Orleans Employees Retirement System, which includes purchasers that publicly traded UBS securities between May 4, 2004 and January 26, 2009.

The 120-page complaint says that UBS would encourage analysts and investors to consider “new net money” that came to the investment bank during each reporting period as a major indicator of the company’s performance and future prospect. The securities fraud class action lawsuit, however, contends that UBS employed a fraudulent scam to lure a material amount of this “new net money.” This scheme also helped extremely rich US investors avoid federal taxes by placing billions of their dollars in undeclared Swiss bank accounts.

The New Orleans Employees’ Retirement System claims the investment bank’s Swiss bankers acted improperly and violated Securities and Exchange Commission regulations when they sold securities in the United States even though they lacked the necessary licensing. The plaintiff contends that UBS’s fraudulent actions led to the firm generating fees worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year and that these funds were used to create more loans through fractional lending.

The lawsuit also accuses UBS of taking action to conceal the tax scam from investors, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Justice while purposely making it appear that the firm’s Wealth Management division was growing at an unprecedented pace.

The plaintiff says UBS’s claims that it had “robust internal controls” and “state of the art risk management tactics” were misleading and false because while UBS was providing these reassurances to investors, it was in fact engaged in its tax evasion scam.

In addition to UBS, defendants in the class action case include Marcel Ospel, Phillip Lofts, Peter Wuffli, Mark Branson, Peter Kurer, Martin Liechti, Peter Kurer, and Raoul Weil.

The putative Class is seeking billions of dollars in damages.

Related Web Resources:
The New Orleans Employees’ Retirement System, Through Its Counsel Labaton Sucharow LLP, Files Class Action Lawsuit Against UBS AG in Connection With Tax Haven Scheme — UBS, Trading Markets, January 30, 2009

New Orleans Employees’ Retirement System v. UBS AG, Justia Docket
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