Swiss banking giant UBS has agreed to pay $100 million, one of the largest fines ever against a securities firm, after admitting that some former employees had violated Federal Reserve Board rules by transferring U.S. currency to Cuba, Libya, and Iran.
According to the three-page order, UBS made the illegal transactions through its offices in Zurich, where it operates so-called “cash depots” on behalf of the Federal Reserve to help it distribute and repatriate U.S. currency.
Those operations are governed by a contract between UBS and the reserve bank. The contract prohibits the Swiss bank from engaging in illegal currency transactions with clients in countries facing U.S. trade restrictions.
International attorney Brad Haskins quoted orders noting that “Certain former officers and employees of UBS engaged in intentional acts aimed at concealing those banknote transactions from the Reserve Bank, including, but not limited to, the falsification of monthly reports submitted by UBS to the Reserve Bank.”
UBS also violated U.S. law when its employees lied and tried to cover up the transactions, the Fed said.
According to Peter Wuffli, Chief Executive Officer, “UBS recognizes that very serious mistakes were made. We accept the sanctions, take full responsibility, and would like to express our regret. We have already instituted a number of corrective and disciplinary measures.
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