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Swiss prosecutor opens probe into ex-SNB chairman Hildebrand

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland's state prosecutor opened an investigation into former Swiss National Bank (SNB) Chairman Philipp Hildebrand in connection with possible violations of secrecy laws, after receiving an undisclosed complaint.

Hildebrand's current employer, fund management firm BlackRock Inc , said he rejected the allegations.

"Mr Hildebrand absolutely rejects any allegations of wrongdoing and is providing the Attorney General with whatever assistance is necessary to resolve this matter," BlackRock spokesman Marc Bubeck said in an emailed statement on Thursday.

The allegations related to a period prior to Hildebrand's joining BlackRock, Bubeck said.

"(It) involves a complaint regarding violation of Federal secrecy law brought by a private person in July 2012."

Bubeck said Hildebrand, who has moved to London since resigning from the SNB last year, was not available to comment further on the matter.

The Swiss prosecutor's office confirmed in an email it had opened an investigation following a complaint it received from the Zurich prosecutor. It didn't elaborate on what the probe was connected to.

Hildebrand resigned from the SNB last year after he failed to prove he had not been involved in lucrative currency trades by his wife just weeks before he oversaw the introduction of a cap on the Swiss franc's value in 2011.

The former Moore Capital hedge fund manager, who controlled his own portfolio while at the SNB, was later found not to have broken the central bank's old rules, which were tightened up after the scandal.

He joined the SNB in 2003, rising to chairman in 2010, and won praise for helping to orchestrate the 2008 bailout of UBS , which prompted tougher Swiss banking regulations now being phased in.

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz, additional reporting by Sinead Cruise; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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