* Leumi sees Q4 loss of 100 mln shekels ex Israel Corp
* Leumi sees 2012 net profit of 1.09 bln shekels
By Tova Cohen
TEL AVIV, March 4 Bank Leumi, Israel's
second-largest lender, warned of a possible 42 percent drop in
profits on Monday after taking a charge of 340 million shekels
($91 million) on the costs of a U.S. investigation into possible
tax dodging by its citizens.
As a result of this expense and a provision for an early
retirement programme Leumi said it expects to post a net loss of
100 million shekels for the fourth quarter of 2012 and a net
profit of 1.09 billion shekels for the full year.
Leumi made a profit of 618 million shekels in the final
three months of 2011 to give a total for the year of 1.89
It said the estimates for 2012 exclude any contribution to
be had from the bank's 18 percent stake in conglomerate Israel
Corp, which has yet to report results.
Leumi also said that since it does not know for certain how
much it will have to spend on the U.S. investigation, the final
expense could be significantly higher.
The bank has urged U.S. clients to disclose information
about their accounts to U.S. authorities, who are investigating
Leumi and other foreign banks as part of a wide-ranging campaign
to crackdown on Americans using offshore banks to avoid taxes.
The U.S. effort has been focused largely on banks in
Switzerland, but it has been known that banks in other
countries, including Israel, are under scrutiny.
In a Dec. 16 letter obtained by Reuters Leumi urged U.S.
clients to join the Internal Revenue Service's voluntary
Leumi's fourth-quarter provision is to cover any expenses
arising from the investigation, which relates to the period
2002-2010, including the cost of advisers hired by the bank.
"This provision is not an admission regarding any complaint
that might be raised against the group by U.S. tax authorities,"
Leumi said in a statement.
Shares in Leumi were down 2.9 percent at 12.78 shekels in
early trade in Tel Aviv on Monday.
Leumi is scheduled to report results on March 21.