Swiss probe UBS over alleged Malaysia money-laundering

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Swiss prosecutors have opened a criminal money laundering probe into UBS after an environmental campaign group filed a complaint accusing it of links to the proceeds of alleged illegal logging in Malaysia.

The investigation could be a new embarrassment for the Swiss bank, fined for helping clients dodge U.S. taxes in 2009 and facing similar accusations – which it denies – in Germany. It comes as Switzerland is trying to clean up its image as a haven for ill-gotten gains.

A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors said they had opened a criminal investigation into allegations of money laundering.

She confirmed that UBS was being investigated in connection with its relationship with Musa Aman, chief minister of Malaysia’s Borneo state of Sabah.

He was accused in the complaint brought by Switzerland’s Bruno Manser Fund in May of links to illegal logging in Borneo. He did not respond to phone calls, but has previously dismissed graft allegations as a political conspiracy.

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