Trader "sorry" as UBS chief fights for bank and job

Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:04am EDT
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By Michael Holden and Saeed Azhar

LONDON/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - While UBS CEO Oswald Gruebel battled to keep the Swiss bank's investment arm and save his job, the trader accused of unauthorized deals that lost the bank $2.3 billion said he was "sorry beyond words."

UBS trader Kweku Adoboli did not seek bail when he made a brief court appearance in London on Thursday. His lawyer, Patrick Gibbs, said Adoboli was "sorry beyond words for what had happened" and was "appalled at the scale of the consequences of his disastrous miscalculations."

The 31-year old did not enter a plea and was remanded in custody until a further hearing next month.

More than 6,000 miles away in Singapore, with his job on the line after the scandal, Gruebel is embroiled in three days of meetings where he will fight to maintain the investment bank as part of the group's business alongside wealth management, sources told Reuters on Thursday.

The 67-year-old German, a former bond trader himself, has been delivering "a consistent message" throughout the week, despite twin British and Swiss investigations into how Adoboli evaded UBS's compliance department, sources said.

"One incident doesn't mean UBS will rush to sell the investment bank," said a second source who attended a meeting between Gruebel and senior Asian executives earlier in the week.

But the market expects to see at least one senior head roll.

"The best signal ... would probably be for UBS to let go of Carsten Kengeter, who as CEO of investment banking is ultimately responsible for the losses," said Christian Stark, analyst at Cheuvreux.   Continued...