November 25, 2020

Swiss bank chief profited by dollar trades

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GENEVA (AP) — A Swiss political weekly says Switzerland’s central bank chief personally engaged in profitable currency deals previously thought to have been conducted by his wife, a claim that could increase the pressure on SNB President Philipp Hildebrand to step down.

Hildebrand (pictured) has yet to comment on the case, which first became public when the SNB issued an unprompted statement Dec. 23 declaring that “rumors” of wrongdoing by its 48-year-old chief were unfounded and its rules against insider trading weren’t breached.

An Swiss central bank spokeswoman, Silvia Oppliger, decline to comment Wednesday on the latest report.

The Zurich-based Weltwoche weekly said it has obtained bank statements showing that Hildebrand himself bought large amounts of U.S. dollars before selling them for profit after his central bank depressed the value of the Swiss franc.

“We have all the bank statements showing the relevant transactions, plus a verbal assurance from a bank employee confirming that it was Hildebrand personally, not his wife, who ordered the transactions,” Weltwoche’s Deputy Editor-in-Chief Philipp Gut told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Gut declined to identify the bank employee, but said he was a client adviser at Bank Sarasin. The Basel-based private bank said it has fired an IT support employee who leaked confidential information about “currency transactions by the family of the president of the Swiss National Bank.”

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