Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The SEC filed an enforcement action against UBS AG, charging the firm with acting as an unregistered broker-dealer and investment adviser. According to its complaint, UBS's conduct facilitated the ability of certain U.S. clients to maintain undisclosed accounts in Switzerland and other foreign countries, which enabled those clients to avoid paying taxes related to the assets in those accounts. UBS agreed to settle the SEC's charges by consenting to the issuance of a final judgment that permanently enjoins UBS and orders it to disgorge $200 million.
As alleged in the SEC's complaint, from at least 1999 through 2008, UBS acted as an unregistered broker-dealer and investment adviser to thousands of U.S. persons and offshore entities with United States citizens as beneficial owners. UBS had at least 11,000 to 14,000 of such clients and held billions of dollars of assets for them. The U.S. cross-border business provided UBS with revenues of $120 to $140 million per year.
In connection with a related criminal investigation, UBS has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice pursuant to which UBS will pay an additional $180 million in disgorgement, as well as $400 million in tax-related payments.