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The crooks at USB Bank and Royal Dutch Shell

Former Shell CEO Peter Voser is an unlucky man. He had the incredible misfortune to be in charge of the bad guys at both corporate giants, Shell and UBS Bank simultaneously, while presumably being personally innocent of any criminal acts? What are the chances of that happening? The question of managerial negligence, twice-over, must surely be another matter?

By John Donovan

Printed below is an article published yesterday by BBC News reporting that the “Swiss banking giant UBS has been fined €3.7bn (£3.2bn; $4.2bn) in a French tax fraud case.”

The article goes on to say that “Following similar cases in the US in 2009 and Germany in 2014, the bank accepted large fines.”

During the period of criminal activity the then Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc – Peter Voser – was paid millions of Swiss francs in his role as a director of UBS AG. He was also a member of the governance and nominating committee and of the strategy committee.

Mr Voser was supposed to scrutinize the performance of UBS management monitoring and where necessary removing senior management, as well as satisfying himself that financial information was accurate and that financial controls and systems of risk management were robust and defensible. See this article.

Mr Voser was also a member of the Swiss Federal Auditor Oversight Authority from 2006 until December 2010.

In 2010, Peter Voser was the most senior participant in Shell internal email correspondence relating to the corrupt OPL 245 oil deal. Another billion dollar plus scandal.

I draw attention to incriminating email in which he and senior Royal Dutch Shell Plc colleagues, including RDS CFO Simon Henry and Executive Director Malcolm Brinded were also participants.

Voser was the main recipient of an email from Malcolm Brinded on 22 March 2010 at 15.50. Addressed to “Peter, Simon, Beat”, it raised concern over business principle issues and highlighted “a few other risks” expressing a fear that “this whole saga take another turn for the worse in future”… His prediction turned out to be correct. Brinded is a defendant in the current criminal trial arising from the crooked OPL 245 deal.

In a response email from Simon Henry the following day, 22 March 2010, sent at 15.50, Mr Henry expressed his fear about Shell “carrying the baby” and mentioned, “several risks to aim to mitigate”. He asks “Who is the unknown 3rd party”, refers to “M” (Malabu?) and “unknown party”.

These and related incriminating emails involving Shell’s hired former “MI6 people,” Guy Colegate and John Copleston, can be read here.

Former Shell CEO Peter Voser is an unlucky man. He had the incredible misfortune to be in charge of the bad guys at both corporate giants, Shell and UBS Bank simultaneously, while presumably being personally innocent of any criminal acts? What are the chances of that happening? The question of managerial negligence, twice-over, must surely be another matter?

Still, he has been well-compensated by both global cowboy outfits for not doing his job.

UBS fined €3.7bn in tax fraud case

20 Feb 2019

Swiss banking giant UBS has been fined €3.7bn (£3.2bn; $4.2bn) in a French tax fraud case.

A court in Paris found that the bank had illegally helped French clients hide billions of euros from French tax authorities between 2004 and 2012.

UBS said it had consistently contested any criminal wrongdoing and would appeal against the verdict.

Following similar cases in the US in 2009 and Germany in 2014, the bank accepted large fines.

As well as the fine of €3.7bn, UBS has also been ordered to pay damages of €800m payable to the French state.

Last month, UBS said it made net profits of $4.9bn (£3.8bn; €4.3bn) in 2018.

The bank has set aside $2.46bn to cover potential losses from litigation and regulatory requirements.

‘Systematic tax-evading’

The court found Switzerland’s biggest bank guilty of illicit solicitation of clients and laundering the proceeds of tax fraud.

The French prosecutors had previously told the court UBS was “systematic” in its support of tax-evading customers and that the laundering of proceeds from the tax fraud was done on an “industrial” scale.

Prosecutors said UBS sent Swiss bankers to sports events and concerts to solicit clients.

The court ruling follows an investigation lasting seven years. The bank had previously rejected a €1.1bn settlement offer.

In a statement, UBS said it “strongly disagrees” with the verdict.

“The bank has consistently contested any criminal wrongdoing in this case throughout the investigation and during the trial.

“The conviction is not supported by any concrete evidence, but instead is based on the unfounded allegations of former employees who were not even heard at the trial.”

It added: “No evidence was provided that any French client was solicited on French soil by a UBS AG client advisor to open an account in Switzerland.”

Following a similar case in the US in 2009 UBS paid a settlement of $780m and in 2014 it agreed to a €300m fine in Germany.

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