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CSFB seeks way out of US probe

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CSFB has agreed to pay $100 million (SFr166 million) in penalties to resolve accusations of malpractice in the United States, according to a press report.

This content was published on December 11, 2001 - 13:48

CSFB, the securities arm of Switzerland's second biggest bank, Credit Suisse Group, has agreed to pay the sum to resolve a US federal investigation into the way it dolled out shares in hot stock offerings, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited sources close to the investigation.

The settlement - details of which are being negotiated - was expected to be announced close to the end of the year, the newspaper said.

CSFB would neither admit nor deny guilt as part of the settlement, which is usual in these cases.

When contacted by swissinfo, Credit Suisse Group said that it could not make a comment on the article at this stage.

The planned agreement stemmed from an 18-month probe into whether CSFB gave favoured investors larger shares of Initial Public Offering (IPO) stocks during the heady tech boom of the late 1990s and early 2000.

In exchange, these clients allegedly paid kickbacks to CSFB, in the form of inflated commissions on other stock trades.

Spokespeople for the firm, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the regulatory unit of the National Association of Securities Dealers declined to comment.

During the IPO boom's heyday CSFB made more than $700 million in fees for helping high tech start-ups to go public - far more than any rival, the newspaper said.

Regulators and federal prosecutors have looked at whether investment banks exploited their positions as IPO underwriters, and forced big investors into paying unusually large commissions in exchange for shares in high-flying IPOs.

CSFB fired three brokers from its technology group in June for violating firm policy.

swissinfo with agencies

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