Hildebrand’s wife says sorry to Swiss people

Kashya Hildebrand, the wife of Switzerland's former central back chief, has apologised to her husband and the Swiss people for the massive currency transaction that led to her husband's resignation amid accusations of insider trading.

Hildebrand's wife says sorry to Swiss people
SF Screenshot

Hildebrand said if she really had been in possession of insider information, and had wanted to use it for personal gain, she would have taken a completely different course of action.

“From the bottom of my heart, I apologise to the Swiss people, to the politicians who’ve been distracted from what’s important, and more importantly, I apologise to my husband,” she told Italian language TV station TSI in her first interview since Philipp Hildebrand’s resignation as president of the Swiss National Bank (SNB).

In a five-minute conversation recorded in Singapore during an art exhibition, Kashya Hildebrand justified the purchase of $504,000 on August 15th and their resale three weeks later, a transaction that made her a profit of $78,000 but cost her husband his job.

“People are turning this into an insider trading kind of scandalous event,” she said, adding that it broke her heart that her husband’s credibility had been sullied by the deal.

Hildebrand explained that, as the owner of an art gallery in Zurich, she makes deals with people in places like Dubai, Hong Kong and Miami, where the dollar is the currency used. So she thought it would be wise to have half the couple’s assets in francs and the other half in dollars.

“That was my idea, that was his portfolio, that obviously was my mistake,” she said.

Hildebrand said that if she and her husband had been privy to insider information, they would certainly not have contacted their compliance service. Nor would they have used an account with their names on it, or used the information three and a half weeks before the SNB decided to cap the franc-euro exchange rate.

More to the point, she said, they would have bought and resold euros, the currency against which the SNB was capping the franc.

“There was an error of judgment miscalculation. [My husband] should never have let me do that transaction. And upon reflection, that transaction should have been reversed,” she said.

When asked if the revelations may have been politically motivated, Hildebrand’s wife sent a message to Christoph Blocher, the Swiss People’s Party strongman who uncovered the scandal: “‘One person did make a very interesting comment: ‘Mr. Blocher might have a lot of money behind him, but we have God’.”

Watch the full interview (in English).

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Swiss National Bank hit by new spray paint attack

A woman activist spray painted a message on a billboard outside Switzerland’s central bank on Friday in an echo of a similar protest last year in which an 86-year-old woman was arrested.

Swiss National Bank hit by new spray paint attack
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The incident occurred as the Swiss National Bank (SNB) held its annual general meeting in Bern, the Blick newspaper reported.

An unidentified woman sprayed the message 'please remember why we founded you' on the billboard in red paint.

According to the paper, the protestor was campaigning in support of the campaign for monetary reform, which goes to a nationwide vote in June.

READ ALSO: Why the Swiss National Bank needs more gold

Known as the Vollgeld Initiative in German and the Initiative Monnaie Pleine in French, the initiative calls an end to traditional bank lending and for the SNB to be the only financial institution able to issue money. 

The SNB opposes the sovereign money initiative.

With the help of other activists, the spray painter removed the words a short time later.

Almost exactly one year ago an 86-year-old woman was arrested after spraying an anti-war message outside the SNB in a case that drew worldwide attention.

READ ALSO: Woman, 86, arrested for spraying anti-war graffiti on Swiss National Bank

The peace activist spray-painted ‘Money for weapons kills' on the billboard. 

She was campaigning on behalf of the Group for a Switzerland without an Army (GSsA) which had launched a popular initiative to ban Swiss financing of any company that produces arms. 

If it gathers the required 100,000 signatures by October 2018, the issue will go to a national referendum.