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UBS posts Q4 loss of 1.9 billion francs on lawsuits, restructuring

Switzerland's biggest bank UBS AG posted Tuesday a 1.9 billion francs ($2.1 billion) loss for the fourth quarter in the wake of a series of lawsuits, scandals and a wave of restructuring.

The Zurich-based bank attributed the loss mainly to "net charges for provisions for litigation, regulatory and similar matters as well as net restructuring charges and an own credit loss." In contrast, UBS made a net profit of 324 million francs in the fourth quarter of 2011 despite a $2-billion rogue trading scandal.

UBS also ended 2012 with a loss of more than 2.2 billion francs ($2.4 billion), compared with a profit of 4.4 billion francs for 2011.

UBS is one of the world's largest managers of private wealth assets and is on the list of the 29 "global systemically important banks" that the Basel, Switzerland-based Bank for International Settlements, the central bank for central banks, considers too big to fail.

In December, UBS agreed to pay some $1.5 billion in fines to international regulators following a probe into the rigging of a key global interest rate. In admitting to fraud in its Japanese unit, UBS became the second bank, after Britain's Barclays PLC, to settle over the rate-rigging scandal.

UBS and the reputation of the global banking industry suffered last year, battered by an industry-wide investigation into alleged manipulations of the benchmark LIBOR interest rate, short for London interbank offered rate. It's also seen its reputation bruised by a London trial into a multibillion dollar trading scandal and ongoing tax evasion probes.