View Full Version : UBS Chairman steps down following "US wealthy" tax evasion scandal

David Guyatt
03-04-2009, 01:15 PM
The "St. Peter's Keys" bank of Switzerland suffers under tax evasion scandal. A few years ago, the "IOR" the Vatican's only bank was the 7th largest money launderer in the world.

What a shock it is (not) that it's Swiss son has stepped in its masters footsteps.


UBS boss replaced after one year
The chairman of Swiss banking giant UBS will step down after just one year in the job - a year in which the bank reported record losses from bad loans.

Peter Kurer will be replaced by former Swiss finance minister Kaspar Villiger, in a move that has been widely welcomed by the markets.

At the end of last month, the bank also appointed a new chief executive.

Later on Wednesday, a UBS official will be quizzed by the US Senate about the bank's role in a tax evasion inquiry.

Record losses

UBS lost 19.7bn Swiss francs ($16.7; 11.9) in 2008, largely because of the US sub-prime mortgage crisis that sparked the global economic downturn.

Mr Kurer said that he had set out to reduce the bank's levels of risk and rethink its longer term strategy.

We think this is very good news. It will bring confidence to the company and restore its reputation
Teresa Nielsen, Vontobel
"I now think that it is time to complete this transition and leave the office at the end of my one-year term," he said.

While Mr Kurer is not being blamed for the bank's heavy losses, he has come under scrutiny in the light of allegations that UBS helped wealthy US citizens evade tax, given his previous position as the bank's chief legal officer.

Mr Kurer will be replaced by Mr Villiger in April.

Restoring confidence

"We think this is very good news. It will bring confidence to the company and restore its reputation," said Teresa Nielsen at Vontobel.

Indeed, the need for a clean break with the past was an important factor in the management change, analysts said.

"Mr Villiger has a good background - he has been involved in legislation against money laundering and has international political connections. This will distance the bank from the ongoing tax investigation [in the US]," said Javier Lodiero at Oppenheimer.

Last month, the bank appointed Oswald Gruebel, the former head of Credit Suisse, as its new chief executive, replacing Marcel Rohner.