Basler KB puts aside $55 mln to repay client forex losses

ZURICH Thu Jan 3, 2013 4:26am EST

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ZURICH Jan 3 (Reuters) - Basler Kantonalbank is to put aside 50 million Swiss francs ($55 million) to compensate clients who lost money they invested via the Swiss bank in foreign exchange trading firm ASE.

ASE has been under investigation by Swiss authorities since March when Basler raised the alarm after a client noticed discrepancies between an e-banking account and account documents forwarded from the Aargau-based investment firm.

Basler chief executive Hans Rudolf Matter stepped down last week after the bank said it estimated clients could have lost more than 100 million francs investing with ASE.

In October, Basler said it had dismissed three employees at its Zurich branch and handed written warnings to four more after an investigation by law firm Baer & Karrer found they had not been sufficiently vigilant.

The bank said the amount used to compensate clients would be taken from reserves for general banking risks, reducing expected net income by 50 million francs in its 2012 results.

BKB shares were 0.2 percent higher at 0850 GMT, in line with the European banks index. ($1 = 0.9138 Swiss franc) (Reporting by Martin de Sa'Pinto; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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