UBS AG, under investigation along with other banks for alleged manipulation of currency markets, is taking a “proactive” approach toward resolving regulatory probes, Chairman Axel Weber said.
“Resolving these issues from the past is a top priority for me,” Weber said in a speech at the bank’s annual shareholder meeting in Basel today. “We were also able to resolve the Libor issue quickly and decisively in cooperation with regulators. We have the same proactive attitude for the procedure that is currently under way.”
UBS is poised to receive immunity from European Union currency-rigging fines after it was the first to approach regulators in the probe, a person with knowledge of the case said last month. UBS, which avoided a 2.5 billion-euro ($3.45 billion) penalty in the EU’s probe into the rigging of benchmark interest rates including the London interbank offered rate, was again first to cooperate in the currency investigation, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the process is confidential.
UBS, the largest Swiss bank, has said it’s cooperating with the authorities investigating allegations of foreign-currency manipulation. The bank’s internal probe of the matters is continuing, Zurich-based UBS said yesterday in its first-quarter report.
Weber declined to provide any further details on the investigations in response to questions from a shareholder.
“We are looking closely at every part of the bank, and will take decisive action at once if we find any misconduct,” Weber said. “We will not tolerate any illicit machinations. We have no interest in trying to hide wrongdoing.”
UBS’s work with cross-border clients has also come under scrutiny as Switzerland tries to shed its image as a haven for undeclared funds amid a crackdown on tax evasion by the U.S. and European governments. The bank avoided prosecution in the U.S. after being charged with conspiracy in 2009 by admitting it aided tax dodging, paying $780 million and handing over account data.
UBS aims to make sure that all its cross-border clients from the “major” European countries are “fully tax-compliant” by the end of this year, Weber said.