Identity of Israeli UBS Official Arrested in Tax Evasion Case Disclosed

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A man walking out of a branch of UBS bank in Geneva, Jan. 23 2005.Credit: David Mizrachi / BAUBAU

It has been disclosed that Roni Elias is the high-ranking Israeli at the Swiss-based bank UBS who was arrested this summer on a visit to Israel on suspicion of helping Israeli clients evade taxes. The disclosure of the identity of Elias, a former employee of Bank Leumi in Switzerland, follows the lifting of a gag order in the case by Haifa Magistrate’s Court Judge Orit Kantor.

Israel Tax Authority officials are now said to be considering whether to file criminal charges against UBS on possible suspicion that the bank was involved in assisting Israeli clients in evading taxes.

Elias’ personal computer is said to have contained lists of hundreds of accounts managed by UBS in which the names of the account holders were encoded. The investigators in the case have managed, through the use of advanced technology, to decode a considerable portion of the names on the list, an Israel Tax Authority source said.

Other suspects in the case arrested in June are the owner of a chain of medical clinics in Eastern Europe, the chain’s accountant, an investment adviser at the bank and 10 Israelis who have accounts at UBS. All the suspects have been released on bond. They have appealed the Haifa judge’s decision to lift the gag order on disclosing their identities. The investigation is ongoing and other arrests are anticipated. Since the decoding of a substantial number of names on the list, investigators have turned their attention to these account holders, and the list of those under investigation is therefore growing.

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