UBS Still Popular with Both Obama and Republicans after Paying More Than $1 Billion in Fines

Friday, May 20, 2011
UBS CEO Robert Wolf golfing with President Obama
It’s been no-hard-feelings for Swiss bank UBS AG, the financial institution that hasn’t let more than $1 billion in government fines get in the way of building relationships with politicians in Washington.
Over the past three years, UBS has paid off three large settlements, while courting favor with Republicans and President Barack Obama.
The bank this month finished giving the U.S. Department of Justice $160 million for manipulating the bidding for municipal bond sales. Two years ago, it forked over a $780 million fine for helping Americans evade taxes by keeping bank accounts secret from the IRS, and in 2008, UBS paid $150 million in fines to state and federal regulators after the market for auction-rate securities failed.
Still awash in cash, UBS has continued cutting checks to election campaigns, giving $15,000 each to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. It also has contributed $5,000 to the campaign of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and an account controlled by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida), the newly elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Obama has a friend in Robert Wolf, president and CEO of UBS Investment Bank, who bundled at least $500,000 for the Democrat’s 2008 presidential campaign. Wolf also has served on two White House panels: the Economic Recovery Advisory Board and the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
UBS Invests in Washington (by T.W. Farnam, Washington Post)
UBS to Pay $780 Million Over U.S. Tax Charges (by David S. Hilzenrath and Zachary A. Goldfarb, Washington Post)


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