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ZKB CEO Scholl Says Bank Will Find Solution in U.S. Tax Probe

Zuercher Kantonalbank, the biggest of Switzerland’s publicly owned cantonal banks, is “confident” it will find a solution to a U.S. tax investigation, Chief Executive Officer Martin Scholl said.

“The bank is cooperating fully in the current negotiations with the U.S. authorities,” Scholl said today at a press conference. The company hasn’t handed over any client account information or employee data to the U.S., he said, declining to comment if ZKB has made any reserves for a possible fine to resolve the matter.

The U.S. is investigating 11 Swiss financial institutions suspected of helping Americans hide money from the Internal Revenue Service. Switzerland and the U.S. may reach an agreement on the treatment of undeclared bank accounts within months, Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said in an interview on Jan. 28.

Of the 16.4 billion Swiss francs ($18 billion) in net new money inflows in 2008, when some American clients switched from banks that were under U.S. scrutiny, a “low-single-digit” percentage was from U.S. clients, Scholl said.

The Zurich-based bank, which is fully owned by the canton of Zurich, also reported today that full-year net income rose 5.6 percent to 769 million francs on higher interest income and net inflows of 12.3 billion francs.

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