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Swiss bank chief won't quit over trade

Thursday, January 05, 2012 - 02:10

Jan. 5 - Swiss National Bank Chairman Philipp Hildebrand says he won't resign over a controversial currency trade made by his wife three weeks before he oversaw moves to impose a cap on the Swiss franc. Bobbi Rebell reports.

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Switzerland's central bank chief Phillip Hildebrand denied any "wrongdoing" or "misuse of privileged information" at a news conference over a controversial currency trade made by his wife three weeks before he imposed a cap on the Swiss franc. Kashya Hildebrand bought 500,000 francs worth of U.S dollars. The former trader now owns an art gallery in Zurich and, according to local tabloid Blick, the trade made her a profit of $64,000. Hildebrand admitted he had regrets: SOUNDBITE: SWISS NATIONAL BANK CHIEF PHILIPP HILDEBRAND (FRENCH) SAYING: "Now that I look back at this history, it becomes clear that, first of all, I gave this liberty to my wife, who, by the way, didn't know anything about the political financial decision. Today I regret that I didn't insist on the fact that this transaction should have been reversed" He said the most important lesson now is to focus on transparency: SOUNDBITE: SWISS NATIONAL BANK CHIEF PHILIPP HILDEBRAND (GERMAN) SAYING: "And, would I be ready put forward all my accounts to the public? Of course. The question is whether it should be towards all the public or relevant authorities. If it's necessary, if it's a wish, be it from the national bank's council or from the government, I will of course be ready to put forward all my accounts to the public." The story hit the headlines after the sacking on Tuesday of a bank employee who leaked details to the lawyer of one of Philipp Hildebrand's political opponents. The affair comes at a time of ongoing scandal about Switzerland's banking secrecy, which allows the world's wealthy to avoid tax. But the Swiss National Bank has already investigated the trade and said last month it didn't breach internal rules. Hildebrand says as long as he has the confidence of the government and the bank council, he won't step down. Bobbi Rebell, Reuters

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Swiss bank chief won't quit over trade

Thursday, January 05, 2012 - 02:10