UBS Tax Whistle-Blower Sues for $4 Million, But May Get $4,000

(Bloomberg) -- A former employee at UBS Group AG’s French unit is suing the government for 3.5 million euros ($4 million) after helping investigators build a tax case against the Swiss bank.

Stephanie Gibaud, who organized events for wealthy UBS France clients before she was fired in 2012, filed a lawsuit to obtain the compensation, a court adviser said at a hearing Thursday in Paris. Gibaud says she hasn’t been able to find any work because she aided the criminal investigation.

Gibaud’s says her assistance was instrumental to a blockbuster trial taking place at another court 45-minutes away on the other side of Paris. UBS potentially faces billions of euros of fines and penalties in a trial over allegations the bank encouraged French clients to avoid taxes by stashing funds in offshore accounts.

In Gibaud’s case, the court adviser sympathized with the former UBS employee, but recommended that the court limit compensation to 2,000 euros, with an extra 1,500 euros to cover her legal fees. A ruling is expected in three weeks.

The court adviser said the evidence in the case shows Gibaud provided documents to investigators and helped them during a surveillance mission of UBS bankers and clients at an event organized around the 2011 Roland-Garros tennis tournament.

She recommended that the tribunal acknowledge Gibaud’s assistance, but said the former UBS employee failed to sufficiently link those efforts to any damage she suffered. The adviser also said Gibaud first started to provide assistance in 2011, about two years after UBS began a disciplinary procedure that resulted in her dismissal.

Antoine Reillac, a lawyer for Gibaud, argued that his client’s whistle-blowing started in 2008 when she refused to destroy documents UBS had asked her to get rid of.

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