SWITZERLAND - Roland Rümmeli, portfolio manager of the CHF1.7bn (€1.1bn) Siemens Switzerland pension fund, is being held in custody following his arrest in connection with investigations into the Swissfirst scandal on Friday. He was also suspended by the Siemens AG.
The development is the latest in the scandal concerning alleged insider trading in Swissfirst shares ahead of its merger with fellow Swiss bank Bellevue.
"In the course of the investigations regarding Swissfirst we have found kickback payments", public prosecutor in Zürich Arno Thürig told IPE. He said that authorities were looking into how these payments fit into the ongoing investigations.
The sum found was in the region of millions of Swiss francs though an exact figure was not disclosed. Swiss police were searching Rümmeli's house in Urdorf on Friday.
At Siemens Switzerland, spokesman Charles Breitenfellner confirmed the suspension following information received from the public prosecutors on the allegations.
"He is suspected for accepting kickbacks - that is what the public prosecution service told us. We do not know if the money came from Swissfirst or not", Breitenfellner told IPE.
In a press conference on Saturday, Swissfirst denied having paid kickbacks to any pension fund managers. In August, Rümmeli had signed a statement to confirm that he had no personal gain in the Swissfirst merger with Bellevue.
On Friday, Siemens Switzerland disinvested in Swissfirst "to reduce possible risk", the company stated in a press release.
Furthermore an internal investigation into the management of the pension fund was launched.