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Fugitive Ex-UBS Wealth Management Chief Weil Arrested in Italy

UBS Bank Branch at Headquarters
UBS avoided U.S. prosecution in 2009 by admitting it aided tax evasion, paying $780 million and handing over data on 250 accounts. Photographer: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Raoul Weil, the fugitive former head of UBS AG’s global wealth management business, was arrested in Bologna after checking into a hotel under his own name and triggering an alert to Italy’s authorities.

Weil, 53, was arrested at I Portici Hotel Bologna at 1:45 a.m. on Oct. 19 and taken to the city’s Dozza prison, a Bologna police spokeswoman said today. Weil declined to comment through his lawyer, Aaron Marcu of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

U.S. federal prosecutors said in a 2008 indictment that Weil and other executives failed to implement effective restrictions to stop UBS’s U.S. clients from evading taxes after the bank agreed in 2001 to identify account-holders and tell the Internal Revenue Service about their income. Weil, who at the time ran UBS’s wealth management business, resigned and was declared a fugitive by the U.S. government in 2009. UBS said the same year that Weil left to focus on his defense.

UBS avoided U.S. prosecution in 2009 by admitting it aided tax evasion, paying $780 million and handing over data on 250 accounts. It later disclosed information on about 4,450 more accounts.

UBS today declined to comment on Weil’s arrest, while an official for I Portici Hotel didn’t have an immediate comment.

Weil became the chairman and chief executive officer of global wealth management and business banking in 2007, taking over from Marcel Rohner, who was appointed UBS CEO. From 2002 to 2007, he was head of the wealth management international unit. Weil first joined Swiss Bank Corp., which later merged with Union Bank of Switzerland to form UBS, in 1984. He has a degree in business and economics from the University of Basel.

Weil this year became the CEO of Reuss Private Group AG, which manages more than 4 billion Swiss francs ($4.4 billion) in assets, after previously being involved with the company in an advisory capacity, according to an April statement on the Swiss firm’s website. The company isn’t commenting on Weil’s arrest, Martin Forster, a senior partner, said by phone.

To contact the reporters on this story: Elisa Martinuzzi in Milan at emartinuzzi@bloomberg.net; Elena Logutenkova in Zurich at elogutenkova@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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