Record French Fine Slashed as Latvian Bank Wins Tax Appeal
07 Apr 2021

Latvian lender Rietumu Banka won a 75% reduction in what was once France’s highest criminal fine for a company.

Rietumu, which had allegedly helped clients of a company-registration and advisory firm dodge taxes, will still have to pay 20 million euros ($23.6 million), down from the 80 million-euro penalty handed down four years ago.

Rietumu’s conviction in 2017 was the first sign that French fines were being ramped up as part of a crackdown on white-collar crimes following the creation of an elite prosecution unit, the Parquet National Financier.

The penalty was eclipsed just a year and a half later when the PNF secured a 3.7 billion-euro fine in court against UBS Group AG. The Swiss bank, accused of soliciting clients illegally and laundering the proceeds of tax evasion, has appealed and awaits a September ruling from the same panel of judges as in the Rietumu case.

Rietumu was also barred from operating in France for five years by the Paris court of appeals, confirming the 2017 ruling on that point.

By Gaspard Sebag, Bloomberg, 6 April 2021

Read more at Bloomberg

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