Bank Leumi to provision for U.S. investigation, sees Q4 loss

TEL AVIV, March 4 Mon Mar 4, 2013 2:40am EST

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TEL AVIV, March 4 (Reuters) - Bank Leumi, Israel's second-largest commercial lender, said on Monday it will take a charge of 340 million shekels ($91 million) in the fourth quarter to cover expenses for a U.S. investigation over possible tax avoidance by American clients.

As a result of the expense as well a provision for a programme for early retirement, Leumi expects to post a loss of 100 million shekels in the quarter and a net profit of 1.09 billion shekels for all of 2012.

These estimates exclude the results of conglomerate Israel Corp, in which Leumi holds an 18 percent stake.

Leumi also said that since it does not know for certain how much it will have to spend on the investigation, the final expense could be significantly higher.

($1 = 3.74 shekels) (Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Steven Scheer)

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