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UBS 2008 loss revised to 21 billion Swiss francs

UBS 2008 loss revised to 21 billion Swiss francs

UBS AG revised its annual loss for 2008 upward by 1.19 billion Swiss francs Wednesday because of legal settlements and writedowns.
The Swiss bank said a previously announced $780 million fine and restitution package agreed with U.S. authorities to settle a massive tax evasion probe, together with writedowns on toxic assets, pushed its losses to 20.89 billion francs ($19.79 billion) last year.
The bank's previously published full-year loss was 19.7 billion francs _ already a record for a Swiss company.
UBS shares rose 2.5 percent to close at 10.03 francs on the Zurich exchange, a significant lift from the all-time low of 8.20 francs it hit Monday but still far below its value of a year ago.
Luqman Arnold, a former chief executive of UBS, was quoted as saying in a newspaper interview Wednesday that UBS stock was "nearing the bottom."
Arnold, who is now one of the bank's major shareholders with his investment firm Olivant Ltd., was quoted by Zurich-based Tages-Anzeiger as saying that the future of UBS depends partly on the next steps taken by U.S. authorities in their investigation of the bank's offshore banking practices.
UBS, the largest Swiss bank, is in a showdown with Washington over wealthy American tax evaders.
It has provided the bank details of up to 300 wealthy Americans suspected of tax fraud, but refuses to identify about 50,000 more U.S. account holders Washington wants.
Arnold also cited possible measures against tax havens that could be agreed by the Group of 20 industrialized and developing economies at their meeting in London next month.
Switzerland was particularly vulnerable to outside pressure at the moment, he said and accused Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown of ignoring tax havens in his own back yard, in particular the Channel Islands.
UBS has said it will realign its offshore banking operations and reign in the loss-making investment bank blamed for much of last year's losses.
Arnold said he welcomed the appointment of ex-Credit Suisse chief Oswald Gruebel as UBS' new CEO and the proposal that former Swiss president Kaspar Villiger become the bank's chairman at its next shareholder assembly.


Updated : 2021-05-11 06:55 GMT+08:00