Geneva: Switzerland's biggest political party called on Saturday for the country's central bank chief to resign, saying Philipp Hildebrand broke the law by conducting private currency deals while he was leading efforts to soften the Swiss franc.
   
The nationalist Swiss People's Party, which won more than a quarter of the vote in last year's election, said Hildebrand was "no longer tenable" as president of the central bank. The demands came a day after the 48-year-old banker broke his silence to deny wrongdoing and dismiss calls for his resignation.
   
"The best thing would be if he himself took the consequences," the party's deputy general-secretary, Silvia Baer said on Saturday. "Otherwise it's up to the appropriate oversight authorities to recall him."    

The Swiss National Bank acts independently of the government, but its president is elected by the government's seven-member Cabinet, which can also remove him or her following a request by the central bank's supervisory council.
   
Hildebrand, whose six-year term began January 1, 2010, is considered a pillar of the central bank's success in steering Switzerland through the worst of the global credit crunch. But his decision to buy and sell large amounts of US dollars at a time when his own central bank was making major monetary decisions about the Swiss franc has led to accusations of naivety and possibly insider trading.
   
The former swimming champion and hedge fund manager on Friday denied breaking the bank's internal rules, saying his only mistake was not to reverse a particularly sensitive transaction conducted by his American wife from their joint account.
   
Still, Hildebrand acknowledged the public had raised "moral questions" about his behaviour and pledged to review the bank's rules on personal transactions.
   
A senior figure in the People's Party said that isn't enough. Lawmaker Christoph Blocher has demanded a parliamentary enquiry into the whole affair.

(Agencies)