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Finance minister hits out at UBS, Credit Suisse

The finance minister has hit out at banking giants UBS and Credit Suisse for what she described as an “incomprehensible” response to a proposed new banking law.

In an interview published in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung on Saturday, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf called on the banks to provide a detailed explanation of their response provided to a commission examining the proposed law.

She said figures provided by the banks did not reflect “reality”, and were incomprehensible “not only for me.”

“In politics, it often happens that propositions lacking in clarity are put forward when one wants to delay something,” Widmer-Schlumpf told the newspaper.

The government was forced to bail out UBS at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

It has proposed a law which would force UBS and Credit Suisse, considered “too big to fail”, to build up a total capital equity ratio of 19 per cent, which is above the minimum set by the Basel III global standard.

The banks have questioned whether the rule would apply to subsidiaries.

“I remain convinced that in a free market economy it is not acceptable that two major banks can run risks for which they don’t take responsibility because of state guarantees,” Widmer-Schlumpf said.

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