WRS - World Radio Switzerland

UBS and Credit Suisse Executives back Romney over Obama

Geneva (ots) - An investigation by World Radio Switzerland has found that executives within Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse have swung their support dramatically behind Republican challenger Mitt Romney to beat Barack Obama in the US presidential elections this November.

Executives at Credit Suisse have so far funded the Romney campaign to the tune of $316,160. It's a total which is just above the amount given to the Obama presidential effort in 2008, but this time around they've only given $18,132 towards re-elected, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington and published through its website OpenSecrets.org.

UBS executives have contributed $182,500 to the Romney camp this time around and $58,700 to the Obama side. In the last race they gave Obama a combined total of $532,000. However, UBS Americas Chairman and the President of its Investment Bank Robert Wolf who serves on two of the Obama's White House advisory panels has provided the Democratic National Committee with the maximum allowable donations in this cycle of $61,600.

Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director of the Center for Responsive Politics publishes reams of data at OpenSecrets.org and says there's a clear pattern at play. "They're are backing away from Obama, there's a lot of discontent among Wall Street and the banks and looking at Mitt Romney as someone who understands there business. Coming from private equity he is somebody that is very comfortable among the Wall Street elite."

The swing towards Republican support appears much stronger for Credit Suisse executives than those at UBS, who have so far donated twice as much to Republican campaigns.

Credit Suisse has denied a request for comment to World Radio Switzerland. Peter McKillop, the Chief Communications Officer at UBS Americas tells World Radio Switzerland that there's no grand strategy on the part of the bank. "UBS does not identify itself with any particular political candidate. Individual employees are of course, it's a democracy, free to support whichever candidate they prefer. So I think that's the most important point. And as a result, UBS as a company has not contributed to any political, presidential candidate, Democrat or Republican in this election cycle."

A Republican dominated Congress would be more amenable to reversing regulations enacted since the 2008 financial crisis, according to analysts from the left and right of the political spectrum in Washington. Financial lobbyists are keen to reverse aspects of the Dodd-Frank and FATCA, legislation that is about to impose stringent reporting demands on foreign banks. FATCA is deeply unpopular among Swiss legislators and bankers. The analysts also say that continued Republican control of the House of Representatives would certainly block the passage of Senator Carl Levin's "Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act".

Dan Mitchell, Senior Fellow, at the libertarian CATO Institute says Republicans are persuadable on winding back some of the most stringent measures being imposed on foreign firms by the FATCA law. "This is an incredibly bad piece of legislation in terms of throwing sand in the gears of the global economy, making America a far less attractive place to invest and do business. I don't think there's any chance that FATCA gets revisited if Obama retakes, holds the White House."

Credit Suisse is the highest profile of several prominent Swiss banks known currently to be under investigation by the US Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service over allegations of actively assisting Americans in tax evasion. The last few months has been characterized by continued public uncertainty over whether the Swiss and US sides are capable of reaching a UBS-style settlement agreement.

Rebecca Wilkins is from Citizens for Tax Justice and thinks Credit Suisse may consider Republicans more favourable in an eventual deal, saying "I think they're hoping that a Republican administration will be much less aggressive and if they stall reaching a settlement with the Department of Justice now, maybe in January there will be a new Republican administration which will be less aggressive in pursuing claims against the bank."


Philippe Mottaz, Director, WRS
Mobile: +41/79/203'43'80

Catherine Allen, News Editor WRS
Mobile: +41/79/527'61'63

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