Swiss bank chief rocked by currency swap claims

The Local, Switzerland
4 Jan, 2012

Swiss central bank chief Philipp Hildebrand on Wednesday faced fresh claims about his personal currency transactions in a scandal that has shaken the Swiss banking industry.

Swiss weekly newspaper Weltwoche said in a statement ahead of its Thursday publication that it was Hildebrand himself, and not his wife, who was behind the purchase and selling of currency that sparked a probe by the Swiss National Bank (SNB).

The bank chairman also made several other dollar and euro transactions on the foreign exchange market between March and October last year, according to Weltwoche, a publication close to the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP).

In March alone, Hildebrand bought dollars worth $1.1 million Swiss francs, the paper claimed, saying it had had access to extracts from the Hildebrands’ banking documents.

Contacted by AFP on Wednesday, the SNB gave no comment on the new revelations.

The central bank said in December that an independent investigation into the Hildebrand couple’s transactions had found no evidence of foul play.

The probe was reportedly launched after SVP figurehead Christoph Blocher went to then president Micheline Calmy-Rey with extracts of banking documents.

Blocher, a critic of SNB policy under Hildebrand, has so far remained silent on the matter.

Banque Sarasin in Basel said in a statement late Tuesday however that one of its employees had admitted illegally transmitting banking details to a lawyer close to the SVP.

Read more: Swiss bank chief rocked by currency swap claims

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