Arab Today, arab today swiss politician implicated in bank chief scandal
Last Updated : GMT 12:33:12
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Swiss politician implicated in bank chief scandal

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Swiss politician implicated in bank chief scandal

Geneva - AFP

A scandal that threatened the standing of the Swiss central bank chief Philipp Hildebrand turned its focus on Tuesday onto a leading politician and critic of the banker. Swiss media reported that Christoph Blocher, an outspoken figurehead of the far-right Swiss People\'s Party, had perhaps skirted Swiss law in helping spark an investigation into a money transaction by Hildebrand\'s wife. Kashya Hildebrand reportedly exchanged a large sum of Swiss francs weeks before the Swiss National Bank moved to devalue the currency by imposing a minimum value against the euro. The SNB has since said an independent inquiry revealed no foul play. Le Temps newspaper reported on Tuesday that Blocher delivered extracts from the couple\'s banking documents to then president Micheline Calmy-Rey after requesting a meeting on December 15. Breach of client confidentiality is punishable by law but Basel authorities said on Tuesday no legal case had so far been launched. Authorities will only act if a complaint is lodged, public ministry spokesman Markus Melzl told the ATS agency. Blocher, who has been critical of the SNB\'s 1.20 floor for the franc against the euro, believing it should be higher for the sake of Swiss exports, has for the most part remained silent, merely telling media: \"There\'s a time to speak and a time to stay quiet. It is time to stay quiet.\" Ms Hildebrand, who runs an art gallery in Zurich, reportedly bought $500,000 on August 15, ahead of the SNB announcement on September 6 that it was to set a floor for the franc against the euro. The bank acted due to the currency\'s value soaring amid the euro debt crisis, biting into Swiss exporters\' earnings. After the measure was imposed the dollar gained 10 percent against the franc. The SNB responded to what it described as \"unfounded rumours\" in a statement on December 23, saying independent checks had been carried out which found no illegal transaction or exploitation of privileged bank information had occurred. All transactions were examined in detail and \"confirmed entirely with regulatory requirements,\" the central bank said. Blocher reportedly has strong contacts within the banking community, and in particular with Banque Sarasin in Basel where the transaction was said to have been made. The bank has not commented on the matter. The Swiss government has said only that it was informed of the transaction and not by whom. \"Breaching client confidentiality is punishable by law. You can go to jail for it,\" said a spokeswoman for the Basel-based Swiss Bankers Association. \"If that has been the case, then there ought to be an according procedure and sanctions.\" Under Swiss law the head of the central bank is allowed to manage his or her own money dealings, unlike at the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank where they are obliged to place their assets in a trust administered by a third party.

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