European bank linked to several scandals puts Vancouver at top of its real estate bubble index

UBS paid U.S. regulators $545 million last year in connection with manipulating interest rates

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      A Swiss-controlled bank has put Vancouver at the top of a list of 18 cities at risk of a real-estate bubble bursting.

      UBS Real Estate Bubble Index also named London, Stockholm, Sydney, Munich, and Hong Kong.

      Cities that made the list experienced housing price increases of 50 percent or more since 2011.

      The report is based on data collected before the B.C. Liberal government imposed a 15 percent tax on foreign buyers of homes in Metro Vancouver.

      In recent years, UBS has been linked to some large scandals, including the manipulation of the LIBOR interest rate and international currencies. In 2015, it agreed to pay US$545 million to U.S. authorities to put an end to an investigation.

      It also paid $14.4 million last year to settle allegations by the Securities and Exchange Commission that its "dark pool" trading system had created an unlevel playing field for investors.

      One of its biggest payouts was in 2008: $282 million in connection with its financing of an Italian dairy company called Parmalat, which was linked to fraud and money laundering allegations.

      Also in 2008 in the wake of a global financial meltdown, the Swiss government injected $5 billion into UBS to help keep it afloat. In addition, a $60-billion fund was created to deal with the bank's "toxic assets".

      Perhaps its most notorious scandal occurred in 2011 when a rogue trader in London, Kweku Abodoli, rung up $2 billion in losses. The company was later fined in the U.K. for failing to supervise him properly.