Swiss private bank Bank Sarasin has revealed that it has fired an employee who passed on currency trade bank data, in relation to Philipp Hildebrand, chairman of the Swiss National Bank.
In an official statement the bank said:
Bank Sarasin has announced that an employee illegally passed bank data to an external third party. This data concerned currency transactions by the family of Philipp Hildebrand, chairman of the Swiss National Bank.
The employee admitted his criminal misconduct to the bank today.
The employee presented himself to Zurich Cantonal Police on January 1, 2012.
The employment relationship between Bank Sarasin and the employee has been terminated with immediate effect.
Philipp Hildebrand has been personally notified by the bank. Bank Sarasin is extremely regretful about this incident and has apologized to the client for the considerable unpleasantness caused by the infringement of bank-client confidentiality. The bank condemns the misuse of confidential bank data for political purposes in the strongest possible terms.
Bank Sarasin has informed the Federal Financial Market Supervisory Authority and reserves the right to take legal action. Because of ongoing investigations, no further details can be published at this time.
Hildebrand has been cleared of insider trading, after allegations that his wife Kashya sold Swiss francs just a few days before the currency's devaluation. However, now Christoph Blocher has been accused by Swiss media of tipping off authorities.
According to media reports and domestic Swiss papers:
"Kashya, the wife of Philipp Hildebrand, sold Swiss francs just a few days before the Swiss National Bank initiated exchange controls and devalued the franc. The timing of the transactions was nearly perfect."
And Swiss paper SonntagsZeitung states that the data allegedly showed the sale of 500,000 Swiss francs for dollars by Hildebrand’s wife on August 15, 2011.
However, interestingly in the statement, the sacked worker at Bank Sarasin is said to have delivered the data on Hildebrand and his family to the Swiss People's Party:
The employee, who worked in IT support, said that he disclosed documents relating to the transactions to a lawyer with close links to the Swiss People’s Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei, SVP).
According to the employee, this lawyer then arranged a meeting with National Councillor Christoph Blocher, which took place on November 11, 2011.
This week, two Swiss newspapers, NZZ Online and SonntagsZeitung, said Christoph Blocher, Swiss People's Party (SVP) vice-president, and an opponent of Hildebrand, has:
Meanwhile, authorities cleared Hildebrand of any wrong doing and said:
We had followed rumours that Philipp Hildebrand's wife Kashya made insider trading in the foreign exchange area.
Specifically, it concerned two transactions, three weeks prior to the connection on the franc to the euro 6 September occurred.
The Bank Council – the supervisory body for the SNB – has had to request the president of the SNB's transactions and all account movements of the family to examine retrospectively Hildebrand.
The findings: Hildebrand had done nothing wrong.
As reported on Tuesday by Euromoney, Blocher's spokesperson has not confirmed or denied the accusation and has since told Swiss journalists that the "papers had been remarkably well informed by both the federal authorities and Hildebrand himself".
Blocher has carved a controversial name for himself over the years at the right-wing Swiss party, whose central campaign revolves around anti-immigration.
- Euromoney Skew Blog