The Lausanne-based bank is owned by Espirito
Santo Financial Group (ESFG), which has been under creditor
protection since late July after it buckled under massive debts
linked to its founding family.
ESFG was the biggest shareholder in Banco Espirito Santo, which
was Portugal's largest listed bank that had to be rescued on Aug
4 in a 4.9 billion euro (6.44 billion US dollar) deal.
The Swiss regulator FINMA said its investigation would focus on
the role of the Swiss bank, which is undergoing voluntary
liquidation, in distributing securities and financial products
for the wider group.
"The influence of the owners of the bank on procedures in
Switzerland will also be examined," FINMA said in a statement
posted on its website.
In early July, the Geneva-based bank became the first Espirito
Santo group entity to acknowledge that its clients had not been
reimbursed on debt issued by Espirito Santo International.
FINMA said it has also appointed an independent third party to
clarify the circumstances surrounding the issues. In July, a
FINMA board member stepped down unexpectedly due to a role he
held at BPES.
Last month, BPES said it would sell large parts of its private
banking business to rival Swiss bank CBH Compagnie Bancaire
Helvetique SA, after being ordered by FINMA to seek a buyer for
some of its assets.
(Reporting By Katharina Bart. Additional reporting by Laura
Noonan in London. Editing by Jane Merriman)
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