Maurer on CS and Covid: “Is the state responsible for everything?”
- 04 Feb 2024 1:10 am CET
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Former Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer has defended his decision not to intervene in Credit Suisse (CS) at the end of 2022. A rescue by the state was not realistic, he said. He also questioned the role of the state with regard to the coronavirus measures.
A bankruptcy of CS was very unlikely, Maurer said in an interview with the SonntagsZeitung newspaper published on Sunday. "The bank had so much equity that it was clear that there was interest from third parties," said the former SVP Federal Councillor. This is what happened with the takeover by UBS. For Maurer, this was ultimately the best possible option.
In principle, the Federal Council only comes into play at the end of such a scenario, emphasized the former finance minister. "It does not have the necessary information." The responsibility lies first with the management, then the Board of Directors, the auditing company and the financial market supervisory authority Finma. "In the end, perhaps the National Bank too - they all failed to act in this case," he said.
According to him, a state rescue of CS would have meant a very large loan in the billions. The bank's management would not have wanted this at all because they would have said that they would solve the problem themselves. This would have caused a stir in the public, but would have done the bank little good.
Maurer described the idea that the Federal Council could have nationalized a globally active bank by emergency law - against the will of the management - as naive. Intervention by the state would send out a "fatal signal". For banks, it would mean that they could easily take large risks.
"The state takes care of everything"
The CS is about the same question as the coronavirus pandemic, said Maurer: "Is the state responsible for everything?" In his opinion, the pandemic has reinforced a trend: "The state takes care of everything, really everything."
In the interview, Mauer also reiterated statements he had made about the measures taken during the coronavirus pandemic. "What concerns me above all is how the whole of society can be put under such hypnosis and manipulated," said the former SVP Federal Councillor. By hypnosis, he meant that people who had spoken out critically against the closure of schools, for example, had been portrayed as "irresponsible nutcases".
The events during the pandemic were grist to the mill of those who had lost trust in the state. "We have to get these people back, otherwise they will become extremists," said Maurer. The state had not managed to admit that it had gone too far with the lockdown. For Maurer, that was the least that needed to be done.