SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The Singapore High Court has agreed to a request by UBS AG <UBSN.VX> to seal documents in two cases brought by traders fired by the bank during its investigation into reference rate manipulation, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
UBS argued in an affidavit last month that premature disclosures regarding the bank's investigation into the two former traders would hamper its ongoing probe, as well as a review under way globally by regulators who are looking into the manipulation of rate fixings.
The two traders, Mukesh Chhaganlal and Prashant Mirpuri, are suing the Swiss bank in separate cases for wrongful dismissal, saying they were sacked in order to lessen UBS's role in the alleged manipulation of currency reference rates in Singapore.
"The court has ordered the cases to be sealed," one of the sources told Reuters on Tuesday. The sources declined to be named because they were not authorised to talk to the media.
A Singapore-based UBS spokeswoman declined to comment.
In affidavits filed on March 22, UBS lawyer Sannie Sng said the traders were terminated as a "result of serious misconduct" and that it intends to defend itself against the lawsuit. The traders have said UBS never provided them with reasons for their dismissal.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) ordered banks that help to set local interbank lending rates and currency reference rates to review the fixing process last year as U.S. and British regulators cracked down on the widespread manipulation of Libor, a benchmark used to set interest rates for around $600 trillion worth of securities.
UBS was fined $1.5 billion in December last year for its role in a multiyear scheme to manipulate the London interbank offered rate (Libor) and other benchmark interest rates.
The two traders filed lawsuits at the end of February, seeking damages including salary in lieu of notice and shares they said would have been due them under the bank's equity ownership program had they not been fired.
Bloomberg News reported earlier that the documents were sealed after a closed hearing at Singapore's High Court on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Michael Flaherty and Edmund Klamann)