Gallery owner and wife of Switzerland’s most powerful banker, Kashya Hildenbrand, is facing allegations of insider trading with regard to a currency transaction she made last August.
The Pakistan-born, Zurich-based former hedge fund employee is accused of profiting from inside information obtained regarding the capping of the Swiss franc against the dollar, a protective action that hadn’t been taken in over 30 years. The allegations stem from the purchase of $504,000 in August, which she sold two months later in a deal that created a $65,000 profit. Hildebrand’s husband, who is president of the Swiss National Bank, is also accused of profiting from the move to cap the franc’s value.
Hildebrand claims that the transaction was a function of mere speculation due to the deflated value of the dollar against the franc at that time and that the funds were meant to support her art gallery, based in Zurich. “My interest in the dollar purchase was motivated by the fact that it was at a record low and almost ridiculously cheap,” she said in a statement.
Since moving to Switzerland with her husband, Hildebrand opened an eponymous art gallery in Geneva in 2001, which she moved to Zurich in 2004. She also had a space on West 25 Street in New York for a short period of time; it closed in 2006.
Though calls for Philipp Hildebrand’s resignation have resonated throughout Europe during the first week of the new year, he has so far resisted. "So long as I have the confidence of the government and the bank council, stepping down is not an issue for me," he said at a press conference.
Galerie Kashya Hildebrand is currently showing an exhibition of drawings by South Korean artist, Jung-Yeon Min.
[UPDATED: Philipp Hildebrand unexpectedly resigned from his position as president of the Swiss National Bank on Monday, saying that the controversy threatened to hinder his ability to direct the country through the ongoing recession. Mr. Hildebrand will also resign from positions at several other international organizations.]