As reported previously, and as had been suspected for years, the gold manipulation cartel is slowly breaking apart, and courtesy of the FT, we now know at least one individual directly implicated in Swiss gold-rigging: the former head of UBS's gold desk in Zurich, André Flotron.
So as part of our diligence, because apparently no other media will touch the topic of gold rigging until and unless it is shoved in their face on a, ahem, silver platter, because after all the subject matter is just too "conspiratorial", we decided to ask Mr. Flotron some on the record questions, and sent him the following email:
Andre, we are following up on the FT's gold rigging story and were wondering if we could ask you a few follow up questions on the record?
This is the response we got:
Date: 9 November 2014 17:47:12 WET
Subject: Out of Office AutoReply:
I am no longer responsible for your inquiry. Please refer to Roger Böhler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Based on the present E-Mail exchange, and/or on the agreement reached with you, respectively, UBS is entitled to contact you via insecure E-Mail:(a) E-Mails contain substantial risks such as lack of confidentiality, manipulation of content and sender, misdirection, viruses etc. UBS does not accept any liability for damages arising from use of E-mail. Accordingly, UBS recommends to abstain from sending any sensitive information via E-Mail, from forwarding the text received when submitting reply E-Mails and recommends to manually capture the E-Mail address in every instance. If you should wish to verify the content of this message, please request a hard-copy version. (b) In principle, UBS does not accept any (purchase) orders, cancellation of orders or authorizations etc. via E-mail. If UBS receives such E-Mails, UBS is not obliged to expressly decline them. If you have received this E-Mail by mistake or do not wish to be contacted by E-Mail in the future, you are kindly asked to inform UBS accordingly. Any E-Mail received by mistake (including all its annexes) needs to be destroyed and the content may not be forwarded nor disclosed to any further persons. c) This message is provided for informational purposes and should not be construed as a solicitation or offer to buy or sell any securities or related financial instruments.
UBS reserves the right to retain all messages. Messages are protected and accessed only in legally justified cases.
To be expected. After all, we know that having been the first person busted for gold rigging in Switzerland, Andre is gone but "keen to return in due time."
So we did as he requested, and sent an identical email to person he named as responsible "for our inquiry", Roger Böhler.
To our surprise, Roger also appears to no longer be at the company. To wit:
This is the mail system at host dmz-smtpgate1.stm.ibb.ubs.com.
I'm sorry to have to inform you that your message could not be delivered to one or more recipients. It's attached below.
For further assistance, please send mail to postmaster.
If you do so, please include this problem report. You can delete your own text from the attached returned message.
The mail system <email@example.com>: host sstm8336pmh.stm.swissbank.com[184.108.40.206] said: 550 5.1.1 <firstname.lastname@example.org>: Recipient address rejected: User unknown in local recipient table (in reply to RCPT TO command)
Which, in retrospect, should not have been a surprise. It was on July 13, 2014 when the FT reported that:
Roger Böhler, chief dealer at UBS in Connecticut, has been the latest senior trader to leave his employer in recent weeks, people close to the situation said. The reasons for his departure are not known. Mr Böhler could not be reached for comment while UBS declined to comment.
The reasons for his departure are now known. What is unclear, however, is why Flotron, who is on leave with UBS as of January for reasons known, had an autoforward as recently as today suggesting inquiries be addressed to a person who no longer is with UBS.
In other words, good luck trying to get to the bottom of the UBS gold-rigging scandal, where every loose end is now also a dead end.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that the "suicide epidemic", recently prevalent among various senior executives at Germany's largest bank, Deutsche Bank, hasn't spread to the largest bank in Switzerland headquartered at Bahnhofstrasse 45, Zurich. At least not yet.