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Bonus question rumbles on

The Swiss president and the economics minister have shown understanding in the Sunday press over calls for bankers to return or limit their multimillion bonuses.

The issue continued to dominate newspapers, as Switzerland continues to absorb the fall-out from the financial crisis and the government's SFr68 billion ($58.6 billion) bailout of banking giant UBS.

Economics Minister Doris Leuthard told the SonntagsZeitung that it was worth examining moves to stop UBS managers from receiving bonuses as long as the government continued to help the bank.

"The state does not want to finance the high salaries of managers in banks, but support UBS and through that the banking system," she said.

Bonuses, she said, should be linked to a positive company result and salaries should be subject to transparency.

President Pascal Couchepin told the SonntagsBlick tabloid that he was in favour of bonuses being handed back, but that it could be difficult in practice. But he said it was important to remember that half of the funds were currently in state coffers, through taxes.

Leuthard and Couchepin's comments come a week after acting Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf revealed that the Swiss authorities were considering tougher rules over high pay and bonuses at big banks.


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