UBS

ubs1When Christie’s auctioned off Edgar Degas’s “Danseuses” for nearly $11 million in 2009, the catalog noted that the masterpiece was being sold as part of a restitution agreement with the “heirs of Ludwig and Margret Kainer,” German Jews whose vast art collection was seized by the Nazis in the years leading up to World War II. But now a dozen relatives of the Kainers are stepping forward to object. Not only did they fail to benefit from that sale, they say they were never even told about it, or any other auctions of works once owned by the couple, including pieces by Monet and Renoir. It turns out that the Kainer “heir” that has for years collected proceeds from these sales and other restitutions, including war reparations from the German government, is not a family member but a foundation created by Swiss bank officials. In lawsuits filed in New York and Switzerland, the Kainer relatives contend that officers of the bank — now part of the global banking giant UBS — never made a diligent effort to find them, and worse, used the family name to create a “sham” foundation ostensibly organized to support the health and education of Jewish youth but actually formed, they say, to cheat them out of their inheritance. [NYT via Matt]

A former UBS AG banker gave a primer on the workings of Swiss bank secrecy to a Florida jury hearing the tax-conspiracy trial of Raoul Weil, who once ran the bank’s global wealth-management business. Hansruedi Schumacher told Fort Lauderdale jurors today that he oversaw UBS accounts for about 15,000 U.S. clients in 1999, and most were structured to cheat the Internal Revenue Service. Clients shunned calls or account statements from their Swiss bankers, preferring personal visits, usually in hotels, he said. Bankers often changed hotels to avoid suspicion from the staff. [Bloomberg]

Read on and learn, well, basically nothing that you could not have intuited. Read more »

Did UBS help clients evade taxes for years and years? Yes, it’s a Swiss bank and that’s what Swiss banks do (did?). Is that any reason for France to go all extortionist on its ass? UBS says no. As an aside, a spokesperson from UBS has suggestion that certain French attorneys ought to go back to law school. Read more »

The world’s biggest banks are overhauling how they trade currencies to regain the trust of customers and preempt regulators’ efforts to force changes on an industry tarnished by allegations of manipulation. Barclays Plc, Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and UBS AG, which together account for 43 percent of foreign-exchange trading by banks, are introducing measures to make it harder for dealers to profit from confidential customer information and take advantage of clients in the largely unregulated $5.3 trillion-a-day currency market, according to people with knowledge of the changes. Banks have capped what employees can charge for exchanging currencies, limited dealers’ access to information about customer orders, banned the use of online chat rooms and pushed trades onto electronic platforms, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss their firms’ practices. [Bloomberg]

Beggars can’t be choosers, etc, but honestly, they really put a damper on earnings day! Read more »

  • 24 Jul 2014 at 11:49 AM
  • Banks

France Stakes Claim Its Share Of UBS’s Legal Reserve

Last seen whining (albeit not entirely without justification) about how unfairly the U.S. was treating its banks, France has decided it might not mind piling on a foreign bank itself. Read more »

  • 26 Jun 2014 at 1:36 PM

UBS Intern Chose Wisely?

Things came down to hockey vs. UBS summer, and hockey won, which seems reasonable.

From: [redacted]
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2014 7:35 AM
To: [redacted at UBS]
Subject: Internship

Hey [redacted at UBS],

I was on my way to the office this morning but I left my wallet with my ID in it at home. I am not going to be able to continue my internship with UBS this summer.

Read more »