Central banker quits over private currency deal

Philipp Hildebrand has stepped down Reuters

The embattled head of the Swiss National Bank, Philipp Hildebrand, has announced his resignation amid a controversy over private currency deals.

This content was published on January 9, 2012 minutes

His resignation is with immediate effect according to a press release by the central bank on Monday.

The statement came just hours before Hildebrand, as well as the president of the SNB board, Hansueli Raggenbass, and the finance minister, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, were scheduled to attend a meeting of a parliamentary committee.

Hildebrand argued that the currency transactions had been carried out by his wife without his explicit consent, and they did not breach any regulations.

The government has repeatedly backed Hildebrand and Widmer-Schlumpf had called for a thorough investigation.

The SNB board on Saturday announced a tightening of internal good governance rules for private currency deals.

The rightwing Swiss People’s Party had demanded Hildebrand’s resignation, as well as a wide-ranging parliamentary inquiry and a special session of parliament.

No other major party supports the demands. However, the bank board has been criticised for apparently neglecting its role as supervisory authority.

The controversy was triggered by an employee of a commercial bank last month. He copied documents which ended up in the hands of senior members of the People’s Party.

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