Tuesday, June 30, 2009


NY Times

Published: June 29, 2009

. . . .

[A]s Hernán E. Arbizu tended the fortunes of his gilded South American clients, he says he also illegally took millions of dollars from them for years while at [UBS and Chase], without being detected.

What is more, Mr. Arbizu said he regularly dipped into UBS client accounts — and even visited the Swiss giant’s offices in Manhattan to ensure that the illicit transactions went through — for at least a year after he left UBS for a new job at Chase in the fall of 2006.

The fast-lane world of private banking has hit some serious speed bumps in recent months, its affluent clientele hit by Ponzi schemers, failed hedge funds and tax evasion investigations from Washington to Europe.

. . . .

In telephone and e-mail interviews held in the last eight months, Mr. Arbizu put himself in what he said was the “3 percent of bankers who at some point get confused because of the pressure."
“We feel like we can take risks that other people don’t even dream to do, and that we can manage that risk — I don’t know why.”
. . . .

Yet while his actions pale in comparison with Bernard L. Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme, Mr. Arbizu’s tale contains the same “rob Peter to pay Paul” logic that apparently guided Mr. Madoff.

. . . .

In June 2008, weeks after Mr. Arbizu was indicted in New York, the Argentine authorities raided JPMorgan Chase’s offices in Buenos Aires and confiscated records of 200 wealthy Argentine clients, many of them Mr. Arbizu’s, whose names and assets were then published in a local newspaper. [re Argentine reaction]

. . . .

“I know I am stupid,” Mr. Arbizu said. “I feel that in all these years I had my head divided into two sections, in one small section all this problem and in the rest my ‘normal’ life.”

. . .. ... .. . .
full NYT article [reg. req.], "Private Banker Moved Funds Undetected"

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