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NYT: UBS Seeks to Rein In Obama’s Favorite Fund-Raising Banker

By    |   Friday, 22 June 2012 07:32 AM

Swiss banking giant UBS is seeking to rein in Robert Wolf, a top executive with the firm in New York and one of President Barack Obama’s leading fund-raisers, following a series of press interviews and a splashy Wall Street Journal article earlier this year that called him ``A ‘Fat Cat’ with the President’s Ear.”

The bank’s executive board in Zurich recently ordered Wolf to report all media inquiries to the company’s press office and to keep corporate communications ``informed’’ of his activities outside UBS, the New York Times reported, citing people familiar with the situation. Most interview requests have since been denied, it said.

The restrictions are unlikely to directly affect Wolf’s fundraising activities, even though he will likely be forced to maintain a lower profile, the Times said.

Editor's Note: Obama Donor Banned This Video But You Can Watch it Here

Wolf, 50, has helped amass more than $500,000 for Obama’s reelection so far this year, the Times said. He regularly attends Obama fund-raisers and golfs and vacations with the president.

Wolf and then-Senator Obama met in late 2006 and the banker became a trusted friend and adviser to the presidential candidate by 2008 as he warned him of the financial storm that was brewing, according to the 2011 book “Confidence Men” by Ron Suskind.

With Obama’s criticism of the banking industry and its alleged lack of regulation, the financial sector has been less prone to contribute to him this year than four years ago. As press reports described Wolf as one of the Obama campaign’s ``top bundlers,’’ the Swiss banking group decided to crack down him, the Times said.

Still, there may be internal politics at play as well. Several other executives, including Robert McCann, have been maneuvering for more responsibilities in the bank. McCann recently received a promotion, while Wolf, who is chairman of the Americas, had to relinquish some responsibilities, the Times reported. Because of his relationship with Obama, Wolf has long been the public face of UBS in the United States, the Times said.

McGann, who is chief executive of UBS in the Americas and outranks Wolf, in March sent an e-mail to colleagues at the bank discussing what Wolf’s responsibilities should be, according to the Times. Details of Wolf’s compensation were tacked on at the bottom of the message.

In a related development, Obama's re-election campaign spent more money than it received last month, eroding the president’s cash advantage, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Obama and the Democratic National Committee had about $147 million at the end of May, compared with $107 million for presumptive Republican candidate Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee, according to federal filings released Wednesday. Obama had a 10-to-1 advantage at the end of March, the Journal reported.

Editor's Note: Obama Donor Banned This Video But You Can Watch it Here

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