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Swiss bank accused of helping clients evade US taxes

Switzerland's second largest bank, Credit Suisse, used elaborate measures to find wealthy clients and help them evade US tax authorities, a scathing report from a Senate inquiry said Tuesday. The report contains the results of a two-year Senate investigation and comes a day before the heavily-anticipated questioning of Credit Suisse chief Brady Dougan and other top bank figures before the panel.

Russian central bank lowers mid-term growth forecasts, warns on weaker rouble

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's central bank said on Tuesday the country's economic growth rate may reach the level of 1.7 to 2.0 percent in 2015-16. The forecast, in a quarterly monetary policy report, implies a downward revision compared with its earlier predictions. It said in the previous quarterly report that it saw Russia's medium-term growth potential as 2-2.5 percent. The bank predicted this year's growth at between 1.5 and 1.8 percent, down from a forecast of 2 percent made last quarter.

China bank lending surges in January

China's bank lending surged in January from December, the central bank said, but analysts attributed the rise to seasonal factors. Loans by Chinese banks reached around 1.3 trillion yuan ($216 billion) in January, up 246.9 billion yuan from the same month a year ago, the People's Bank of China said in a statement late Saturday. In December, banks granted just 482.5 billion yuan in new loans, previous figures showed. The January lending figure beat the 1.1 trillion yuan median forecast by 11 economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

Turkish central bank unlikely to move after January's massive rate hikes

By Seda Sezer and Behiye Taner ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's central bank is expected to keep its key interest rates on hold on Tuesday after a dramatic hike in a emergency policy meeting on January 29 called to halt the sharp slide in the lira, Despite opposition from Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, the bank raised its overnight lending rate to 12 percent from 7.75 percent, its one-week repo rate to 10 percent from 4.5 percent, and its overnight borrowing rate to 8 percent from 3.5 percent.

Russia's central bank revokes licenses from two Moscow banks

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's central bank has withdrawn the licenses of two small Moscow-based banks, part of its widening campaign to clean up the banking system and crack down on money laundering. Russia has more than 900 banks, mostly small, and many are suspected of servicing the shadow economy. Since taking up her position as central bank head last year, Elvira Nabiullina, has made it clear she wants to tighten banking supervision and shore up large-scale capital flight to boost the flagging economy.

ECB in driving seat in new euro zone bank supervision draft

By Eva Taylor FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank presented draft rules on Friday for how it will supervise commercial banks in the 18-nation euro zone from November, putting itself firmly in the driving seat. The draft of the Single Supervisory Mechanism's rules give the central bank wide-ranging powers, including the right to approve mergers and acquisitions and to demand that lenders increase their capital buffers.

Ukraine central bank curbs forex purchases

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's central bank said on Thursday it had introduced restrictions on certain types of foreign exchange purchase to help defend the stability of the banking system at a time of volatility in the currency market. In measures it said followed efforts to stabilize the hryvnia in recent weeks - during which political conflict in Ukraine has alarmed investors - the National Bank of Ukraine also said it would be offering extraordinary tenders to support banking liquidity, with funds available up to 360 days.

U.S. trade bank launches operations in Myanmar

By David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Export-Import Bank of the United States said it launched operations in Myanmar on Thursday, a move to support U.S. exporters against competitors and help reintegrate the country into the world economy. Fred Hochberg, chairman of the U.S. government lending agency, said the announcement would send "a strong signal that we are committed to strengthening economic ties with Burma as the nation continues its transition."

UBS bank reports huge switch back into profit

Swiss bank UBS, in the midst of a refocusing of its activities, reported a huge switch back into profit last year and accelerating performance in the last quarter, in a statement on Tuesday. The bank took huge losses from the financial crisis and, in common with Swiss banks in general, is having to adjust to a new Swiss banking climate on many fronts and notably owing to an opening up of Swiss banking secrecy. Last year it made a net profit of 3.2 billion Swiss francs (2.5 billion euros, ($3.38 billion) from a loss of 2.4 billion francs in 2012.

ECB makes progress in preparations for bank audit

The European Central Bank said Monday it is making progress in its preparations for an audit of eurozone banks, aimed at boosting confidence in the sector after long years of crisis. "Preparations for the stress test are well underway and we are confident that, in close coordination with the EBA (European Banking Authority), the outcome will be transparent and credible, boosting the European banking sector," ECB vice president Vitor Constancio told a news conference.
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