Rothschild private bank forgoes dividend after loss-making year

ZURICH, July 31 Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:04pm EDT

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ZURICH, July 31 (Reuters) - Family-owned Swiss private bank Rothschild Bank AG won't pay its owners, the descendants of the bank's famous founding family, a dividend this year, after it swung to a loss following a decision to cooperate with a U.S. tax evasion crackdown.

The Zurich-based bank said on Thursday it made a net loss of 9.2 million Swiss francs ($10.1 million) last year, after taking an undisclosed amount of legal provisions, including to participate in a U.S. programme investigating how Swiss banks helped wealthy Americans dodge taxes.

"In the year under review, we have made provisions for all costs anticipated to arise as part of this program and expect to conclude the matter during the 2014/2015 financial year," the bank's chairman, Baron Eric de Rothschild, said in a letter to shareholders on the bank's website.

Rothschild, which uses its family ties as a selling point with wealthy clients, is one of more than 100 Swiss firms to come forward under a programme brokered by the Swiss and U.S. governments, after criminal investigations of roughly a dozen Swiss banks including Credit Suisse in the United States.

Rothschild is a so-called second category bank, which also include Geneva-based Lombard Odier and Zurich firm EFG International. These banks will escape prosecution if they detail their wrong-doing with U.S. clients and pay fines under the programme agreed last year.

The banks could be fined less than they had feared for their role, but must cooperate more fully with U.S. prosecutors before reaching non-prosecution agreements, the Finanz und Wirtschaft newspaper reported on Saturday, citing unidentified legal sources.

($1 = 0.9086 Swiss Francs) (Reporting by Katharina Bart; Editing by Mark Potter)

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