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UBS Said to Put Two Hong Kong Bankers on Leave on Hiring Process

UBS AG's Joseph Chee
Joseph Chee, the Hong Kong-based head of global capital markets for Asia, seen here, and Sharlyn Wu, a member of his team, were put on leave, people with knowledge of the matter said. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

Feb. 11 (Bloomberg) -- UBS AG placed two bankers in Hong Kong on leave amid an internal review of the hiring of a banker linked to China’s Tianhe Chemicals Group, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Joseph Chee, the Hong Kong-based head of global capital markets for Asia, and Sharlyn Wu, a member of his team, were put on leave, the people said yesterday, asking not to be identified as the matter is confidential. Mark Panday, a spokesman for Zurich-based UBS in Hong Kong, declined to comment.

The suspensions were reported earlier by Reuters, which said that UBS is among banks seeking a senior role in managing Tianhe’s $1 billion Hong Kong share sale. The Swiss bank is looking into whether the hiring process used to bring in Joyce Wei, whose father is chairman of Tianhe, violated internal guidelines and procedures, the people said.

Chee and Wu declined to comment yesterday. Two calls to Wei at Zurich-based UBS’s Hong Kong office weren’t returned.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. quit working on Tianhe’s IPO last month amid a U.S. probe into hiring practices, two people with knowledge of the matter said. The U.S. bank gave up the mandate as questions arose over Wei, a former employee, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. UBS hired Wei toward the end of last year, two people with knowledge of the matter said last month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cathy Chan in Hong Kong at kchan14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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