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Swiss bank Julius Baer says deal done with US on tax-dodging case

Swiss private bank Julius Baer said Friday it had finalised an agreement with US authorities, paying $547 million to end a criminal investigation into claims that it helped rich Americans dodge taxes.

“Being able to close this regrettable legacy issue is an important milestone for Julius Baer,” chief executive Boris Collardi said in a statement.

“The settlement ends a long period of uncertainty for us and … allows us now to again fully focus on the future and our business activities,” he added.

The bank had already fully booked provisions for the fine, which sent its 2015 net profit down by 67 percent to 121.2 million Swiss francs (109 million euros, $122 million) last year.

If it hadn’t had to book the provision for the US fine, Julius Baer said profits would have grown last year by a fifth to just over 700 million Swiss francs.

Julius Baer was among around a dozen Swiss banks placed under criminal investigation by the US Justice Department, including the country’s second largest bank Credit Suisse, which was slapped with a $2.8-billion fine.