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Swiss bank "drops" Clinton from its invitation list

Bill Clinton is no longer wanted by Switzerland's largest bank, UBS


The investment arm of Switzerland's largest bank, UBS, has reportedly withdrawn an invitation to the former United States president, Bill Clinton, because of continuing controversy over his pardon for the Swiss-based fugitive financier, Marc Rich.

Unconfirmed reports say UBS Warburg of London decided it would be inappropriate for Clinton to give a speech at an investment banking conference in New York.

The New York Times quoted people involved in the negotiations as saying the large fees involved - Clinton charges $100,000 a speech - could create an atmosphere of impropriety because a senior UBS executive in Zurich was one of the people who had appealed to Clinton to pardon Rich.

The UBS executive, Pierre de Weck, described Rich, who has lived in Switzerland since 1983, as "an honest, upright citizen who has also been very charitable".

UBS has not commented on the reported withdrawal of the invitation.

The report comes after another bank, Morgan Stanley, apologised to delegates for inviting Clinton to address one of its conferences.

Clinton's last-minute pardon of Rich, just before he left office in January, and revelations that Rich's ex-wife, Denise, was a personal friend of the Clintons and a contributor to Democratic Party funds, has led to widespread calls in the US for the former president's decision to be overturned.

The US federal authorities launched a formal inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the pardon on Wednesday. The investigation is expected to focus on whether funds given by Denise Rich to the Democratic Party came from her ex-husband.

Marc Rich fled the US in 1983 rather than face tax evasion and fraud charges, and has since settled in the central Swiss canton of Zug.

swissinfo and agencies


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