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Swiss Attorney General Opens Criminal Investigation of UBS

Switzerland’s attorney general opened a criminal probe of UBS AG after a complaint filed by Bruno Manser Fund, a rain-forest advocacy group, that alleged a Malaysian politician used UBS accounts to launder money.

The investigation was opened on Aug. 29, Jeannette Balmer, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, said in an e-mail today. She declined to provide any details of the probe.

The case concerns suspected money-laundering of timber corruption proceeds from the Malaysian state of Sabah in Borneo, Bruno Manser Fund said on its website today. Switzerland’s anti-money-laundering legislation makes it a criminal offense for Swiss companies to be involved in laundering the proceeds of corruption and other crimes in their worldwide activities, Bruno Manser Fund said.

UBS will cooperate with the investigation, the Zurich-based bank said in an e-mailed statement. The bank has reported possible money-laundering activities in this case in different countries over several years and was never itself part of investigations by anti-money-laundering authorities, it said.

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