ZURICH, July 10 A veteran board member of Swiss
financial regulator FINMA is unexpectedly stepping down from his
role at the end of August due to his role at Banque Privee
Espirito Santo SA (BPES), part of the troubled Portuguese
Espirito Santo group of companies.
Zufferey is a board member at Pully, Switzerland-based
Banque Privee Espirito Santo SA (BPES), which said on Wednesday
that some clients had not been reimbursed on debt issued by
Espirito Santo International (ESI), a holding company connected
"Mr. Zufferey decided to leave FINMA's board after problems
in the Espirito Santo group emerged," the regulator told Reuters
in a statement.
"With this step, Mr. Zufferey wants to prevent any
discussion about there being any bias at FINMA towards the Swiss
unit of Espirito Santo."
On Thursday, Portugal's markets sank and its borrowing costs
soared as fears grew that financial difficulties at the Espirito
Santo group of companies could have far-reaching implications.
Zufferey, a professor of law in Fribourg, has been with
FINMA for 13 years and had already decided not to stand for
reelection when his current term expires next year, the
FINMA, which still has the required minimum of board members
after Zufferey's departure, said the Swiss government will
decide whether to replace him.
Zufferey wasn't available for comment through FINMA or the
University of Fribourg, where he teaches.
(Reporting By Katharina Bart; Editing by Laura Noonan and