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UBS Bank Escapes|From Class Action

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A federal judge dismissed a class action claiming Swiss banking giant UBS made billions of dollars by improperly closing accounts of secret account-holders, including those of a former Indonesian vice president.

Lead plaintiff AM Trust, the trust of former Indonesian Vice President Adam Malik, accused Zurich-based UBS in September 2014 of shutting down the accounts of people who died or were absent for prolonged periods, and of "withholding or destroying internal records pertaining to these accounts and converting the proceeds to their own use while wrongfully denying requests for information and accounting."

The trust also sued the bank's predecessors, Union Bank of Switzerland and Swiss Bank Corporation. UBS was formed in 1998 from the merger of the other two banks.

Before his death in 1984, Malik, who was also the 26th president of the United Nations General Assembly, had more than $5 million in cash and gold in Union Bank of Switzerland and UBS bank accounts, the trust said.

Defendant UBS submitted a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction in November 2014.

In her Jan. 29 order, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled that the court has no general jurisdiction over a bank that is incorporated and primarily does business in Switzerland.

"The claims asserted by AM Trust have no connection to the United States, let alone this forum," the judge said, adding that an attempt to perform jurisdictional discovery would "be nothing but a fishing expedition."

She found that the claims of the unnamed class members "are irrelevant to the specific jurisdiction analysis."

The case was dismissed with prejudice.

Contact Arvin Temkar at [email protected]

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