March 20, 2012 / 3:37 PM / 5 years ago

Swiss prosecutors probe politician over Hildebrand affair

ZURICH, March 20 (Reuters) - Swiss prosecutors have widened a probe over the leaking of private bank information that helped force the head of the Swiss National Bank to resign to now include Christoph Blocher, a former cabinet member and senior member of the Swiss People's Party.

Blocher's home and firm were searched on Tuesday as part of the criminal inquiry, according to a statement from Zurich's prosecutor. Blocher's spokesman Livio Zanolari declined to comment.

Former SNB head Philipp Hildebrand resigned in January after emails cast doubt on his claims not to have known about a lucrative foreign exchange trade made by his wife Kashya in August, weeks before the SNB moved to stop the Swiss franc climbing.

In January, prosecutors opened criminal proceedings into two members of Blocher's party, Hermann Lei and Claudio Schmid, who are both accused of passing on data on SNB chief Philipp Hildebrand's account in breach of the country's strict bank secrecy laws. (Reporting By Katharina Bart; editing by Andrew Roche)

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