Swiss bank UBS says 'business as usual' in China
Swiss banking giant UBS said Tuesday it was "business as usual" in China following reports that the company restricted travel there as an employee had to delay her return home after being asked to meet with authorities.
The wealth manager, who focuses on China, delayed her return from Beijing to Singapore last week after she was asked to meet with local officials on an unknown matter, Bloomberg News reported, citing a personal familiar with the issue.
News reports said the incident prompted UBS to ask some bankers not to travel to China, but Bloomberg said Tuesday that the bank had lifted its restrictions.
"UBS would like to confirm that we allow all our staff to travel freely in and out of the country and it is business as usual for us in China," the Swiss bank said in a statement.
"UBS has had a strong franchise in China for 30 years and remains fully committed to further developing our business on the mainland," it said.
The statement mentioned neither the travel restrictions nor the situation of the Singaporean banker, who according to Bloomberg is due to meet with officials this week.
US banks Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase have asked wealth managers to reconsider travel to China following the incident, according to Bloomberg.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press briefing on Monday that she was unaware of the situation and referred questions to UBS.
It is not uncommon for Chinese authorities to prevent foreigners from leaving the country due to investigations or legal matters.
The incident also comes as Chinese authorities have intensified a campaign against corruption within the Communist Party and seek to curb financial risks.
More than a million officials have been punished under the sweeping anti-graft drive launched by President Xi Jinping but critics say it has also served as a way to root out his political enemies.