UBS expects to be sued by U.S. Justice Dept over crisis-era mortgage securities

Logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen in Zurich
The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen in Zurich, Switzerland October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

November 8, 2018

By Karen Freifeld

(Reuters) – UBS Group AG , Switzerland’s largest bank, said it expects to be sued by the U.S. Department of Justice as early as Thursday on civil charges related to the sale of mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the 2008-09 financial crisis, according to a company statement.

The bank said the claims were not supported by the facts or the law and it would contest any such complaint “vigorously.”

The U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

UBS said it had been advised by the Justice Department that the law enforcement agency intends to file the civil complaint. It anticipates the Justice Department will seek unspecified monetary penalties regarding the mortgage securities, which date back to 2006 and 2007.

The lawsuit would be among the last actions over misconduct in the sale and pooling of mortgage securities which helped to cause the financial crisis.

The Department of Justice has settled similar claims with Citigroup Inc , Deutsche Bank AG , JPMorgan Chase & Co, Credit Suisse Group AG <CSGN.S>, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc , Bank of America Corp and Barclays Plc .

Barclays settled for $2 billion in March after resisting a penalty the U.S. government sought near the end of the Obama administration in 2016. Justice had sought a much higher fine at the time and, when the two sides could not come to terms, the department filed a lawsuit.

More recently, HSBC Holdings Plc agreed to pay $765 million last month to settle with the Justice Department over its sale of defective mortgage securities before the crisis, while major player Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc reached a $4.9 billion deal in May.

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York; Editing by Chris Reese and Lisa Shumaker)

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