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US appeals court junks $20M libel suit against UBS

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US appeals court junks $20M libel suit against UBS

An appellate court in the U.S. dismissed a $20 million lawsuit lodged by a whistleblower against UBS Group AG, ruling that the Swiss lender's statements about him were at least "substantially true," Reuters reported.

The court upheld an earlier dismissal of the libel case filed by the bank's former employee, Bradley Birkenfeld, who accused UBS of acting with malice in making press statements about him. Birkenfeld reportedly claimed that UBS tried to block his efforts to expose the bank and dented his credibility and the sales of the book he had authored.

The appeals court ruled that Birkenfeld admitted to illegal conduct, thereby supporting the bank's statements to U.S. media that he had been convicted for lying to U.S. authorities, according to the May 25 report.

Birkenfeld had served 40 months in jail for aiding clients evade taxes but was granted $104 million by U.S. tax authorities for acting as a whistleblower, leading to UBS paying a hefty $780 million settlement in 2010.