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Swiss banks give SFr2 million each to US campaign

Swiss groups overwhelmingly backed the Republican candidate, George W. Bush

(Keystone)

Switzerland's two main banks, UBS and Credit Suisse Group, have been the biggest Swiss contributors to the 2000 presidential campaign in the United States.

As with other corporate contributors from Switzerland, the banks mainly backed the Republican Party candidate, George W. Bush.

According to figures released by the federal electoral commission, UBS - via its US branch, Paine Webber - contributed SFr2.14 million to the campaign, while CSG - via Credit Suisse First Boston - gave just under SFr2 million.

Credit Suisse contributed 79 per cent of that money to the Republicans, while a fractionally smaller 70 per cent of UBS' money went to that same party.

Swiss giant, Novartis, donated some SFr700,000 to the 2000 race for the presidency, with 73 per cent of those funds also going to Bush's campaign.

Food behemoth, Nestlé, contributed a similar percentage of its funds worth SFr200,000 to the Republicans.

Other Swiss companies involved in funding the campaign were chemicals group, Ciba (SFr250,000), pharmaceuticals company, Roche (SFr180,000), Zurich insurances (SFr155,000), and the engineering group, ABB (SFr76,000).

Analysts noted that the overall amount of funds donated by Swiss groups this year, was far lower than that given for the 1996 presidential standoff between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole.

American legislation stipulates that foreign companies can only contribute to campaigns through US-based branches or subsidiaries.

Almost all Swiss corporations with a presence in the United States donate funds in order to guarantee the services of lobbyists.

On the whole, big business overwhelmingly backed Bush in his bid for the White House. He received more than SFr330 million from the business world, as opposed to SFr235 million received by the Democrat party candidate, Al Gore.

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