[NEW YORK] Swiss bank UBS is facing a new investigation by US authorities over whether it helped Americans avoid taxes by investing in bearer bonds, The Wall Street Journal said on Wednesday.
The Journal said the bank, which was already fined US$780 million (S$1.05 billion) in 2009 for helping clients evade US taxes, was again being probed by the Justice Department.
The new probe focuses on whether the bank helped clients move money surreptitiously by buying and trading bearer bonds, which can be transferred without registration, allowing people to hold them anonymously.
Because they can be used for tax evasion and money laundering, the bonds are effectively prohibited in the United States.
Citing people familiar with the case, the Journal said investigators are seeking to determine "whether employees of the bank helped facilitate tax evasion or engaged in securities fraud." "Authorities are also trying to determine whether anyone at the bank engaged in criminal efforts to cover up the alleged conduct once it became more widely known about within the bank," it said.