February 6, 2019 / 12:51 PM / 5 months ago

Swiss court rules against Julius Baer in East German assets row

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 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 in 2005.

The agency is seeking around 100 million Swiss francs ($100 million) 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.

“We are analysing the decision and continue to defend our interests,” Julius Baer said in a statement.

($1 = 1.0003 Swiss francs)

Reporting by Michael Shields. Editing by Jane Merriman and John Revill

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