For Swiss banks, an uncomfortable spotlight

| 04/03/2009

(New York Times): ZURICH — Banking has long been to this tidy city what cars are to Detroit and computers to Silicon Valley, only more reliably. For while fortunes swung wildly in those places, quietly serving the world’s wealthy made growth here as predictable as a fine Swiss watch. Until now. With Switzerland’s biggest bank, UBS, staggering beneath a tax scandal that has undermined this country’s vaunted banking secrecy — as well as $53 billion in write-downs on American subprime securities — not only is Switzerland’s reputation for stability threatened but so is the industry that made it one of the world’s wealthiest countries.

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