Email trail that led to the SNB chief quitting

SWITZERLAND’S central bank was seeking a new leader to contain the strength of the country’s franc yesterday after apparently forcing out chairman Philipp Hildebrand when emails failed to clear him of involvement in a currency trade by his wife.

The supervisory council of the Swiss National Bank made no statement after a six-hour meeting yesterday, keeping up suspense on who will now steer the franc through an unprecedented period of strength.

The issue is likely to dominate the Swiss government’s weekly meeting today, which will be followed by a press conference.

Hildebrand’s wife Kashya bought SwFr400,000 worth of dollars on 15 August, three weeks before her husband oversaw steps to stem demand for the franc. She later sold the dollars at a higher rate.

Emails between Kashya, Hildebrand and their Sarasin bank adviser Felix Scheuber, released by the SNB, showed the central banker had been involved in discussions on a dollar trade but left it unclear whether he had approved it.

After examining the email exchange, the SNB’s advisory council indicated to Hildebrand that his position was no longer tenable, two Swiss newspapers reported.