UBS

UBS chairman Axel Weber has hinted he may not stay at the Swiss bank as long as originally expected, in a newspaper interview linking his future with the lender’s ability to meet stricter regulation as well as to restructure by end-2015. “My work here is done when the bank is prepared for the new regulatory requirements and we have successfully implemented our strategy,” Weber told German weekly Die Zeit, in an advance print made available on Wednesday. The Swiss bank aims to hit higher capital requirements by the end of 2014, and said two years ago it plans to fire 10,000 staff and largely wind down its fixed income business by 2015. Weber’s comments represent a subtle shift for the 56-year-old former head of Germany’s central bank, who responded to criticism of his 4 million Swiss franc ($4.50 million) signing-on fee in 2012 in part by saying he was looking to stay with UBS roughly 10 years. [Reuters]

Raoul Weil, the former head of UBS AG’s global wealth management business accused of conspiring to help Americans evade taxes, was ordered to post bail of $10.5 million before trial, according to a court filing. Weil, 54, appeared today in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the first time since he was indicted in October 2008 and declared a fugitive. U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hunt said Weil must post a $9 million personal surety bond with a cash deposit of $4 million, as well as a $1 million corporate surety bond and a $500,000 personal surety bond, according to minutes of the hearing. Weil’s lawyer has said he is innocent. He is the highest-ranking banker among about 100 people charged since 2008 by the U.S. in a crackdown on offshore tax evasion. About three dozen foreign bankers, lawyers and advisers were charged. Tax lawyers not involved in the case said they expect Weil to plead guilty, cooperate with prosecutors, and seek leniency at sentencing. “There’s a good chance he’ll be ready to cooperate, and he’ll be throwing his people under the bus,” said attorney Edward Robbins of Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez in Beverly Hills, California. “He knows where all the dead bodies are. To the extent that the government missed any, he can tell them where they are.” [Bloomberg]

Time was, all a bank employee wanting to manipulate forex rates had to do was sit down at his desk, send a message to a fellow bank employee possessing equally loose morals (and a taste for being called “big boy“) and before you could say “let’s pop this bottle of Bollinger,” the job was done. Which is why UBS has decided to cut its people off at the source. It hasn’t figured out a way to eradicate Libor and other types of rate manipulation entirely, but it has figured out a way to make it slightly more difficult for people who don’t know how to use a phone. As an added bonus, it’ll be giving managing directors the extra responsibility of acting as chat room hall monitors, muttering “this is why we can’t have nice things” while handing out passes, hitting AIM-style warn buttons, and occassionally peeking under men’s room stalls for rogue chatters while doing actual work. Read more »

The Swiss bank is in the clear when it comes to further fines and all it has to do is rat out all the other banks it knows is engaging in the same thing its own employees have done. Read more »

Convicted insider trader John Joseph Hartman and his brother planned to “make a lot of money” by bribing high-profile jockey Danny Nikolic to rig horse races, a court has heard. On his second day of evidence in the committal hearing against his former best friend Oliver Curtis, John Hartman admitted under cross-examination that his brother, UBS banker Edward Hartman, had concocted the plan to make tens of thousands of dollars in 2008. Edward Hartman wrote in an email to John on August 29, 2008, saying the deal could “only be between you and me okay?” before telling him to set up a BetFair account in someone else’s name. “I have a very high profile jockey that will have some very short priced losers for us to lay,” Edward wrote. “But no one else can know other than us, that’s very important.” He was found guilty and fined over two lesser offences, and is banned from racing for two years for threatening a steward during an appeal hearing against a previous ban. John Hartman agreed during cross-examination that he had been part of the email exchange but said that the bribe had never taken place, adding that horses were animals so the outcome was not guaranteed. [SMH]

  • 01 Nov 2013 at 5:16 PM

Suspension Watch ’13: Barclays, UBS

A whole bunch of currency traders have been asked to take 5. Read more »

  • 20 Sep 2013 at 2:51 PM

UBS Whistleblower (Allegedly!) Likes His Drink

Remember Bradley Birkenfeld? Former UBS employee who scored himself a $104 million bonus from the IRS for single-handedly making the government’s case against UBS re: tax cheats, which resulted in the US scoring $780 million from the Swiss bank and in turn nearly $5 billion when you count the additional Americans who were inspired to “voluntarily disclose offshore accounts”? But not before he was sentenced to 40 months at Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution, 32 of which he did before getting the rest lobbed off for good behavior? He’s been celebrating for the past year, and recently celebrating a little too much. Read more »