By Emily Flitter and Jamie McGeever
NEW YORK/LONDON March 28 Swiss bank UBS AG
has suspended U.S.-based veteran currency trader
Michael Velardi, one of up to six traders placed on leave this
week, pending ongoing international investigations into
allegations of collusion and market rigging, a source familiar
with the matter said on Friday.
Velardi, 52, who joined Swiss Bank Corp in 1995 from Lloyds
in New York, declined to comment when reached by phone.
A spokesman for UBS declined to comment.
The source said up to six UBS traders, including Velardi,
had been suspended this week around the world as the Swiss bank
tries to stay ahead of the wide-ranging probe.
UBS is the world's fourth-biggest currency trader, according
to the latest Euromoney poll, seeing just over 10 percent of the
$5.3 trillion that flows through the global market on an average
In its fourth-quarter results on Feb. 4, UBS said it
expected higher charges for litigation, regulatory and similar
matters in 2014. UBS already has a 1.7 billion Swiss franc ($1.9
billion) reserve to deal with legal tangles.
It also said several class-action lawsuits relating to the
foreign exchange probe had been filed against it and other
UBS approached U.S. authorities in September with
information relating to an industry-wide probe into alleged
rigging of currency markets, in the hope of gaining antitrust
immunity if charged with wrongdoing.
It sought to take advantage of a programme from the Justice
Department's antitrust division under which the first company to
report misconduct relating to a cartel can earn immunity from
antitrust charges if it cooperates and provides information
about other members of the group, Reuters exclusively revealed
Authorities in the United States, Britain, Switzerland,
Germany and Singapore are looking into allegations of collusion
and manipulation of the global foreign exchange market.
They are examining not only whether traders from different
banks worked together to influence currency prices, but also
whether they traded ahead of their own customers or failed to
accurately represent to customers how they were determining the
The suspensions at UBS this week bring the total number of
foreign exchange traders suspended, placed on leave or fired to
around 30. Of that total, UBS accounts for up to seven.
($1 = 0.8870 Swiss Francs)
(Editing by Paritosh Bansal and Mark Potter)