A former UBS (UBS) banking official is claiming that Wall Street banks like his previous employer played a key role in the Puerto Rico economic crisis that has left the U.S. territory more than $70 billion in debt and mired in bankruptcy-like proceedings. The ex-UBS official, Carlos Capacete, was interviewed as part of a joint NPR and FRONTLINE probe. Capacete worked for UBS Puerto Rico (UBS-PR) for over a quarter of a century and was the head of the biggest UBS branch on the island in Hato Rey. At one point, Capacete oversaw $3 billion in client assets. Capacete left UBS in 2014 shortly after the crash in Puerto Rico bonds.
Prior to the market crash, Puerto Rico bonds and closed-end bond funds were highly profitable sales products for UBS and other banks on the island. While trying to prevent a government shutdown a number of years back, the U.S. territory started to borrow to pay for yearly government costs. This added $48 billion of debt in 14 years, reports PBS and FRONTLINE.