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UBS to announce biggest loss in Switzerland's history

Swiss bank UBS is set to announce the biggest loss ever recorded for a Swiss company, running into billions of dollars, according to a Swiss daily. The bank has been hit hard by the financial crisis and is also implicated in the Madoff scandal.

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AFP - Switzerland's biggest bank is to announce the biggest loss in the country's history, running into billions of dollars, a newspaper reported Sunday.

It said that UBS would record an overall loss in 2008 of 20 billion Swiss francs (18 billion dollars), in spite of showing a profit of 296 million francs in the third quarter, when it reports results on February 10.

The German language Sonntag, which is generally well-informed, said that the bank had racked up eight billion francs (seven billion dollars) in losses in the final quarter of 2008, bringing the total for the year to 20 billion

UBS admitted in the autumn when it announced third quarter results that the global financial crisis had hit it hard and warned it could lose up to five billion francs in the final quarter.

UBS was heavily exposed to risky US subprime mortgage business and had to write down almost 47 billion dollars in share values. In recent months clients have taken fright and withdrawn a total of 83.6 billion francs.

The Swiss government intervened in October with a rescue plan of 60 billion dollars.

Since then the bank has been hit by the fraudulent Ponzi scheme of US fraudster Bernard Madoff and the failure of the US subsidiary of the Dutch group LyondellBasell and its share value has lost two thirds over the year.

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