February 6, 2019 / 12:38 PM / 5 months ago

Swiss court rules against Julius Baer in East German assets row

FILE PHOTO: The sign for Swiss bank Julius Baer is seen at a branch office in Luzern, Switzerland, November 23, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland’s highest court has ruled against private bank Julius Baer (BAER.S) in a suit by a German government agency seeking East German assets that went missing after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The lawsuit relates to withdrawals nearly 30 years ago from an account established by former German Democratic Republic officials at Zurich-based Bank Cantrade, which Julius Baer bought from UBS (UBSG.S) in 2005.

The agency is seeking around 100 million Swiss francs (77.17 million pounds) plus accrued interest since 1994.

In a ruling published on Wednesday, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court overturned a verdict from a Zurich appeal court last year dismissing the case and sent it back to be reheard. The federal court cited “obvious shortcomings” in the bank’s handling of funds.

Julius Baer has said previously that it is contesting the claims of the German government agency and has taken measures to defend its interests. The bank was not immediately available to comment on Wednesday.

Reporting by Michael Shields. Editing by Jane Merriman

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