Paris/Zurich — UBS Group went on trial in Paris on Monday accused of encouraging rich clients to stash cash overseas to evade French taxes by deploying tactics "worthy of James Bond". The Zurich-based lender dispatched bankers across the border to seek out new clients even though they lacked the paperwork — a banking licence or European passport — to offer such services in France, the lead investigator wrote in the indictment, ahead of the trial that started on Monday afternoon. When they came over from Switzerland to France, UBS bankers allegedly took several steps, described in the prosecution’s opinion on the case as akin to 007 techniques and listed in a "security risk governance" manual, to avoid detection by authorities. They used encrypted computers, had business cards without the lender’s logo and were told to switch hotels often, according to prosecutors.

UBS also allegedly helped clients to launder money they had not declared to French authorities. The bank, which ri...

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