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Ethos decides not to take UBS to court

The Swiss Foundation for Sustainable Development, Ethos, says it will not take its request for a special audit at Switzerland's largest bank UBS to the courts.

Ethos, whose call for such an audit was backed by 45 per cent of shareholders’ votes at an extraordinary meeting in February, said UBS had agreed to provide more details about an ongoing investigation of the bank by the Swiss Federal Banking Commission.

The Geneva-based investment foundation said in a statement on Friday that UBS had confirmed it would provide “more transparent communication” on the impact of the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States.

UBS has been hit hard by the collapse, writing off more than $18 billion (SFr18.15 billion) in risky assets last year and recording a SFr4.4 billion net loss.

Ethos said that in view of the “considerable” shareholder support for a special audit, UBS had revised its position and agreed to send shareholders summaries of its reports relating to the banking commission’s inquiry.

The commission has asked UBS to ask a series of questions, including the reasons for the write-offs, the lessons the bank had learned and the measures taken as a result.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR