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Leuthard says bank wage gap is "too large"

Economics Minister Doris Leuthard has called for increased transparency at Switzerland's largest bank, UBS, and says salaries paid to bankers are too high.

"For me, it is clear that the wage gap between the banking sector and other sectors has become too large," Leuthard told the Berner Zeitung newspaper on Saturday. "Bankers' wages must fall, that is clear for me."

Her comments come after UBS announced a SFr2 billion ($1.72 billion) bonus package for its employees despite losing billions in 2008.

"I am of the opinion that UBS must quickly show greater transparency," Leuthard said. "[Salary] information should be provided before the annual meeting. Then, perhaps everything will be justifiable and transparent."

UBS wrote down $49 billion last year and turned over around $60 billion in toxic assets to the Swiss National Bank. The federal government has also agreed to inject SFr6 billion of fresh capital into UBS in exchange for a 9.3 per cent stake.

UBS still expects to lose SFr8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008.

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