December 13, 2007 / 8:50 PM / 12 years ago

UBS hit with shareholder lawsuit over subprime

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A shareholder sued UBS AGUBSN.VX(UBS.N) on Thursday, contending the Swiss bank misled investors about write-downs related to securities linked to U.S. subprime mortgages.

William Wesner sued the bank and certain individuals, including former Chief Executive Peter Wuffli and former Chief Financial Officer Clive Standish, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The complaint contends that UBS and certain officers and directors issued statements that “were materially false and misleading because they failed to disclose the company’s failure to timely write-down impaired securities containing subprime debt.”

Earlier this week, UBS announced a $10 billion write-down and a massive injection of funds from Singapore and the Middle East, making it the biggest subprime crisis casualty to date among major European banks.

The write-down followed a $3.7 billion hit UBS suffered at the end of October that was also related to U.S. subprime mortgages — loans made to high-risk home buyers who face rising interest rates and are now defaulting on payments.

Following the write-down announcement, UBS shares fell to $48.78, a 26 percent decline from the high reached during the period covered by the lawsuit, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, was filed on behalf of shareholders who bought stock from March 13 to December 11, according to the complaint. Wesner is being represented by law firm Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP.

A UBS spokesman had no immediate comment.

Reporting by Paritosh Bansal and Martha Graybow; Editing by Gary Hill and Ted Kerr

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