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Trading scandal

September 24, 2011

The chief executive of Swiss bank UBS has resigned after accepting blame for a $2.3 billion (1.7 billion euro) trading scandal. A London-based UBS trader has been arrested on fraud charges in connection with the loss.

Oswald Gruebel, CEO of Swiss Bank
Gruebel has called time on his career as the Swiss bank's CEOImage: picture alliance/dpa

The chief executive of Swiss banking giant UBS, Oswald Gruebel, resigned on Saturday in the wake of a rogue trading scandal that cost the bank some $2.3 billion (1.7 billion euros).

According to a statement released by UBS Chairman Kaspar Villiger, the bank's board of directors had accepted Gruebel's decision to shoulder the blame for the trading scandal.

"Oswald Gruebel feels that it is his duty to assume responsibility for the recent unauthorized trading incident. It is testimony to his uncompromising principles and integrity," Villiger said.

The chairman went on praise Gruebel for his successful tenure at UBS, saying "he achieved an impressive turnaround and strengthened UBS fundamentally."

The move ended days of speculation over the fate of the CEO. He is to be replaced on an interim basis by Europe, Middle East and Africa head Sergio Ermotti.

Fraud charges

Gruebel's resignation came nine days after London-based UBS trader Kweku Adoboli was arrested in connection with the loss.

The 31-year-old is facing charges of fraud and false accounting and is to remain in custody until a court hearing next month.

Suspected rogue trader Kweku Adoboli leaving the City of London magistrates court
Adoboli is facing a lengthy prison sentenceImage: picture alliance/dpa

Speaking at an initial court hearing on Thursday, Adoboli's lawyer said his client was "sorry beyond words for what had happened" and was "appalled at the scale of the consequences of his disastrous miscalculations."

UBS has also expressed regret for the latest scandal to hit the bank, saying in a statement it was "deeply disappointed." Switzerland's biggest bank added it would "fully support" an independent investigation while ensuring that "mitigating measures" were implemented to prevent such incidents from recurring.

Gruebel, a 67-year-old former trader, was brought out of retirement in 2009 to rescue UBS after it recorded over $50 billion in losses. Within 18 months he had steered the bank back to profitability and resolved an embarrassing US tax-evasion case.

He was also credited with helping to turn around Credit Suisse over a decade ago.

Author: Charlotte Chelsom-Pill (Reuters, AFP, AP)
Editor: Kyle James