An arbitration panel ruled today that UBS Puerto Rico has to pay $18 million to automotive enterpreneur, Víctor Gómez, his wife, Socorro Horta, and his daughter, Madeline Gómez Horta, for mismanagement of their investments.
This is part of the dozens of arbitration awards that UBS has faced on the Island as sequel to their closed-end mutual funds debacle.
The Gómez award came down just days after NotiCel first published that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) gave a $5.5 million reward to the financial adviser who, while employed at UBS, became a whistleblower and helped in an investigation against the firm and two of its executives. NotiCel also first reported that, over the holidays, UBS had asked the Puerto Rico United States District Court to vacate one of these arbitration awards, which precisely amounted to $18 million, and had been granted to attorney Rafael Vizcarrondo. It is the first arbitration award that UBS has asked the court to vacate.
The Gómez award is less than the some $20 million they asked for in their original 2013 claim, and includes compensation for losses, punitive damages and cancellation of a $7 million credit line debt they held with UBS.
The Gómez case also included a special claim because the mismanagement affected elderly investors and, according to the arbitration report, their financial advisor, José "Whopper" Ramírez, claim Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination during his testimony at arbitration hearings.
"Although the arbitrators awarded less than the full damages claimants requested, UBS is disappointed and strongly disagrees with the decision to award any damages. Mr. Gomez was an experienced investor who made a fully informed decision to leverage his investments and concentrate his portfolio in UBS Puerto Rico closed end funds because of their long history of providing excellent returns and substantial tax advantages. UBS is considering its options to overturn the award," said the investment firm in a written statement.