UBS says not aware of DOJ probe into sanctions-related compliance failures

ZURICH (Reuters) -UBS said on Saturday it was not aware of a probe by the U.S. Department of Justice into alleged sanctions-related compliance failures, after a media report earlier this week.

“The recent reporting on an alleged probe by the US Department of Justice into sanctions-related compliance failures at Credit Suisse and UBS is inaccurate. We’re not aware of such a probe,” UBS said in a statement.

“UBS and CS have significantly and proactively reduced their Russia-related exposure,” it added.

A UBS spokesperson declined further comment on Saturday.

Trading in UBS shares was temporarily halted on Wednesday after they fell nearly 8% following a Bloomberg News report which said that a full-scale U.S. Department of Justice investigation was underway into alleged compliance failures that helped Russian clients evade sanctions.

The Department of Justice declined to comment and UBS had also declined to comment to Reuters on Wednesday when asked for a response to the report.

Bloomberg News could not immediately be reached for comment on the UBS statement on Saturday. Citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg’s report said that the DOJ had spoken to U.S.-based lawyers for UBS about Credit Suisse’s alleged exposure to sanctions violations since UBS acquired its smaller rival in June. The DOJ is also looking into possible compliance failures at UBS, one of the people cited by Bloomberg said. The people said the investigation was still in its early stages and might not result in charges or a settlement.

(Reporting by Noele Illien; Editing by David Holmes and Alexander Smith)