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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urgently worked to break a deadlock in coalition negotiations Tuesday as the once far-fetched possibility of fresh general elections only months after April polls loomed ever larger. Netanyahu has until Wednesday night to reach a coalition deal, but he has been unable to convince ex-defence minister Avigdor Lieberman to abandon a key demand and allow a government to be formed. Failing to do so would be a major setback for Netanyahu, and the stakes are especially high with the premier facing possible indictment for corruption in the months ahead.
Negotiations over a bipartisan deal for border-security funding have stalled, aides familiar with the talks and other officials said, raising the specter of another government shutdown at the end of this week.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with North Korean representative Kim Yong Chol in Washington on Friday, as speculation continues over the possibility of a second meeting between President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, a U.S. official told Fox News on Thursday.
Potential KTLA-Channel 5 blackout looms for Charter Spectrum customers, threatening Rose Parade viewing traditionDecember 28, 2018 | dailybusinessnews
Charter Communications’ Spectrum customers could miss out on a holiday tradition: watching KTLA Channel 5’s television coverage of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.
Charter and Chicago-based Tribune Media, which owns KTLA and 32 other television stations in Charter markets, including…
The U.K.’s planned exit from the EU in March is fueling an exodus of European workers from the U.K., creating a particular squeeze for Britain’s already strained National Health Service.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe
With Prime Minister Theresa May’s government in turmoil over the terms of a Brexit pact, the prospect of “no deal” is getting real—spooking firms big and small, including some far from Britain’s shores.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe
US sanctions have failed so far to shut down Iranian oil exports, and some countries are reportedly close to being granted exemptions to allow them to continue buying from Tehran without fear of punishment.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – World
The Mega Millions jackpot has climbed to $ 970 million, inching ever-closer to the $ 1 billion mark. Officials raised the estimated jackpot Thursday for the second time due to strong sales ahead of Friday night’s drawing. Reuters reports the numbers will be pulled at 11pm EDT. The prize is the second-largest…
Amazon executives have made a fresh round of visits to several of the 20 finalists for its $ 5 billion second-headquarters project, fueling added anticipation as it nears a decision in a process that has stretched over more than a year.
WSJ.com: US Business
A French court has reportedly rejected a request by the largest Swiss bank to drop money laundering charge against it. UBS Group and a number of its executives are accused of tax fraud and money laundering. If found guilty, the bank could be fined up to 5 billion euros or $ 5.8 billion. Its executives could also face jail time.
UBS Wants Money Laundering Charge Dropped
The tax fraud and money laundering trial in France of UBS Group AG and its executives began last week after seven years of investigation.
The largest bank in Switzerland with offices in over 50 countries has asked for the French constitutional court to “drop money laundering charges and limit proceedings to complicity in tax fraud, which carries lighter penalties,” Reuters reported Thursday. However, the court rejected this request, noting that the bank’s arguments were “devoid of seriousness,” the news outlet detailed, elaborating:
UBS Group AG, its French unit and six executives and former executives face charges of aggravated tax fraud and money laundering in an investigation into allegations they helped wealthy clients avoid taxes in France.
Up to 5 Billion Euros Fine Plus Damages
During the investigation, UBS Group turned down the authorities’ settlement offer of 1.1 billion euros, the publication conveyed. “The amount corresponded to what the Swiss bank had already paid as a court bond, according to judicial sources.” The news outlet further described:
If found guilty of money laundering, UBS could be fined up to 5 billion euros ($ 5.8 billion). French criminal law lets judges enforce fines as high as half the amount laundered and in this case prosecutors estimate that up to 10.6 billion euros was denied to the French tax authorities.
According to Reuters, the bank could also face damages awarded to the French tax authorities for the missing revenue and the executives risk jail time.
The whistleblower told the publication that he hoped for a stiff penalty for Switzerland’s largest bank, stating that “If they set an example with UBS, most other banks will be scared.”
In 2009, UBS went through a similar trial in the U.S. and paid $ 780 million in settlement. In 2014, the bank was on trial in Germany and paid 300 million euros in fines.
Recently, a number of other megabanks have been under fire for alleged money laundering activities. Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, allegedly engaged in money laundering through its Estonian branch that could total 200 billion euros. The probe into Danske Bank has also implicated Citigroup and Deutsche Bank. Last month, Netherland’s largest retail bank, ING Group, was fined $ 900 million for money laundering. News.Bitcoin.com also recently reported that Nordic region’s largest bank, Nordea, was suspected of money laundering.
What do you think of the French court refusing to drop money laundering charge against UBS and its executives? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and UBS.
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