March 25, 2014 / 8:41 AM / 4 years ago

CORRECTED-UBS banker back at work after probe into hiring of Chinese colleague

(Corrects name of second banker put on leave in 6th paragraph)

HONG KONG, March 25 (Reuters) - A senior UBS AG banker in Hong Kong returned to work on Monday, according to a spokesman for the bank, after being placed on leave as part of an investigation into the hiring of a Chinese colleague.

Joseph Chee, head of capital markets solutions, was put on leave last month amid an internal investigation over the hiring of Joyce Wei, the daughter of the chairman of Tianhe Chemicals.

The UBS probe came as U.S. authorities launched an investigation into whether rival J.P. Morgan violated federal laws in hiring the relatives of current or potential clients in China with the sole purpose of winning business from them.

U.S. authorities are looking into the hiring practices of other banks, but so far, J.P. Morgan has come under the heaviest and most public scrutiny.

The UBS internal probe was prompted by the bank’s relationship with Tianhe, which was looking to list in Hong Kong later this year in a deal that could raise as much as $1 billion. UBS was among the banks in the running for a senior role on that transaction.

Sharlyn Wu, a member of Chee’s team, was also put on leave while UBS reviewed the matter involving Tianhe and the hiring of the chairman’s daughter.

UBS spokesman Mark Panday told Reuters on Tuesday that Chee returned to work on Monday. Panday said he could not provide any information about Wu.

The J.P. Morgan probe returned to the spotlight on Monday when the Wall Street firm announced that its top China banker was retiring.

Reporting By Lawrence White; Editing by Michael Flaherty and Matt Driskill

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