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January 22, 2019

Fugitive former UBS employee convicted of selling client data to Germany

By Jamie Crawley

A former UBS employee who has been on trial for selling client data to German tax officials was yesterday sentenced to over three years in prison on charges of money laundering. He has, however, been acquitted of breaking Swiss banking secrecy laws, which would have carried a sentence of up to five years.

Rene S., as he has been named by Bloomberg, was tried in absentia, having failed to report to court inBellinzona, Switzerland. He is assumed to be seeking refuge in Germany.

He allegedly stole the details on more than 200 clients, before then selling them on to German authorities, earning €1.15 million in the process, which he used to purchase an apartment in Mallorca. Rene S. subsequently sold this property, leading to the money laundering charge.

Swiss jurisdiction

Rene S. was cleared of breaking Swiss bank secrecy laws as his crimes were committed, for the most part, in Germany.

This marks the second time in recent months that a defendant has been found not guilty of breaking secrecy laws on these grounds. Former Julius Baer employee Rudolf Elmer was acquitted in October, on account of his working in the Cayman Islands at the time of allegedly stealing client data.

Despite this acquittal, Rene S.’s prosecutors were satisfied with the verdict.

According to Bloomberg, Mortiz Gall, Rene S.’s lawyer, said it was too early to comment after the trial, but it is expected that the verdict will be appealed.

His client had maintained his innocence from the outset, with Gall arguing that UBS had failed to investigate leads regarding other potential perpetrators.

Alongside the prison sentence, Rene S. was ordered to pay CHF127,500 in court fees and fines, the court opting not to impose repayment of CHF1.38 million for illegal gains as it was decided he would not have been able to afford it.



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