Swiss investors consider joining US lawsuit against UBS
A Swiss ethical investors group, Ethos, said on Monday that it was considering joining a US class action lawsuit against former UBS managers over their role in the bank's losses in the subprime crisis.
The foundation, which groups institutional investors including pension funds, is a shareholder in UBS.
A spokesman for Ethos said the foundation "is examining" if it will take part in the collective lawsuit against the Swiss banking giant, confirming reports in Sunday newspapers.
"We have to check if European plaintiffs are authorised to take part in a class action lawsuit in the United States," he said.
A town pension fund in Pontiac, Michigan had filed a lawsuit with New York Southern District court against former UBS chairman Marcel Ospel and ex chief executives Peter Wuffli and Marcel Rohner as well as other managers on July 11, 2008.
The Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag reported that other pension funds, including British, Danish and German ones, have joined the US ligitation accusing the bank of having hidden the extent of its investments in risky US subprime housing loans, the Sunday newspaper reported.
UBS has ruled out any legal action against its former managers.
Dominique Biedermann, head of Ethos, told the newspaper that an eventual settlement of the case in the United States could place other shareholders at a disadvantage because any payout would be footed by the bank and not former managers.
"That would mean... that UBS shareholders who did not take part in a collective lawsuit would pay for an amicable settlement," he said.
© 2010 AFP