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UBS probe finds a number of US tax fraud cases

Swiss bank UBS, at the centre of a high-profile US investigation into offshore services it offered to wealthy Americans, said it had uncovered a “limited number” of tax fraud cases.

“Our investigations have uncovered a limited number of cases of tax fraud under both US and Swiss law,” UBS chairman Peter Kurer said in the text of a speech to shareholders, who were meeting to approve a government cash injection.

“We must find a rapid, efficient and possibly unconventional solution,” he said.

UBS has been one of Europe's hardest-hit bank in the crisis and made writedowns of around $49 billion on risky US assets, prompting the government to propose a 6.0 billion Swiss franc ($5 billion) bailout on October 16 in the form of a convertible bond.

The rescue package also allows UBS to hive off up to $60 billion of illiquid assets in a special central bank-controlled fund.

UBS has seen many clients withdrawing money as it struggled in the subprime crisis. Money outflows at its core wealth management division totaled a record $49 billion in the third quarter. The bank has said the pace of outflows has slowed since the government stepped in to help it. (Reuters)