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Firm Ends Plans for Clinton Speech

February 14, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) _ A London-based financial firm has abandoned plans for Bill Clinton to speak at an investment banking conference because it fears being dragged into the controversies dogging the ex-president, according to published reports.

UBS Warburg, the parent company of brokerage house PaineWebber, pulled out of discussions to offer Clinton a paid speaking engagement at the April conference, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

UBS Warburg also was worried that a large speaking fee might give the appearance of impropriety since one of its senior executives had written a letter to Clinton urging him to pardon fugitive financier Marc Rich.

The last-minute pardon of Rich has been a central issue in the uproar swirling around Clinton in the weeks since he left office. The House Government Reform Committee is looking into the matter and the Senate Judiciary Committee was set to hold hearings Wednesday.

The UBS Warburg letter, written by executive Pierre de Weck on Dec. 4, urged Clinton to pardon Rich, describing him as ``an honest, upright citizen who has also been very charitable.″

Spokesmen for UBS Warburg, formerly known as Union Bank of Switzerland, declined to comment on the decision.

Last week, investment firm Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. apologized to customers for paying Clinton $100,000 for a speech during an investment conference in Florida.

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On the Net: http://www.ubswarburg.com

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