Swiss bank EFG profit flat after charge for US tax probe

ZURICH Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:28am EST

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ZURICH Feb 26 (Reuters) - Swiss EFG International said on Wednesday full-year net profit was virtually unchanged after the bank made a 6.5 million Swiss franc ($7.32 million) provision related to a probe into wealthy Americans evading taxes through hidden offshore accounts.

The Zurich-based private bank is one of 106 Swiss entities to come forward to U.S. prosecutors in a Swiss government-brokered scheme to make amends for aiding tax evasion.

"At this time, EFG International has concluded that it is not possible to make a reliable estimate of the final penalty that may be payable," the bank said in a statement.

The bank's net profit stood at 111.8 million Swiss francs, a tough higher than the 111.2 million francs it posted in 2012. EFG said it would double its dividend to 0.20 francs per share.

Besides the 6.5 million provision for future legal fees, the results also included 2.8 million in costs for legal advice.

EFG recently emerged from a lengthy restructuring in which it sold and shut down large parts of a business that had become too big and unprofitable after a rush of acquisitions. Last month, it said it would take over the Hong Kong business of Abu Dhabi-owned Falcon Private Bank. ($1 = 0.8882 Swiss francs) (Reporting By Katharina Bart. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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