News

15 July 2011
Press release

UBS client data: Federal Supreme Court upholds FINMA's decision

On 18 February 2009, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA had ordered the release of a limited number of UBS client data to US authorities in order to avoid the threat of US authorities bringing criminal charges against the bank which could have in turn threatened its liquidity and stability. In its final decision today, the Federal Supreme Court confirmed that, in light of the then-prevailing situation, FINMA's order was legally correct.
Criminal charges against UBS by US authorities in February 2009 would, in FINMA's estimation of the situation at that time, have seriously jeopardised the bank's liquidity and thus its existence. In light of UBS' size and interconnectedness in Switzerland, the stability of the Swiss financial centre was also threatened. At the time, the bank's financial situation, its management team and the overall conditions in the international financial markets were extremely unstable. Under these circumstances, the possibility did not exist then for an orderly resolution of UBS and the protection of the functions which are systemically relevant to the Swiss economy. In line with its statutory mandate, FINMA's decision sought to avert the immediate danger facing both creditors and the functioning of the Swiss financial system. FINMA informed the Federal Council in a timely and transparent manner of the need to honour its obligation to take action as ultima ratio in such exceptional circumstances.

The Supreme Court decided today that, in light of then-prevailing situation, FINMA's action was justified. The final decision of the Supreme Court therefore overrules the contrary decision of the Federal Administrative Court of 5 January 2010. FINMA will review carefully this Supreme Court decision once published in its completed form.

Contact

Tobias Lux, Media Spokesperson, phone +41 (0)31 327 91 71, tobias.lux@finma.ch