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Swissfirst combats allegations by putting itself up for sale

The management of the Swiss private bank Swissfirst has put the bank up for sale in a surprise move to deflect criticism following allegations of insider trading.

Swissfirst is being investigated amid allegations of malpractice surrounding its merger with Bank Bellvue, a Zurich-based firm. The bank claims that it has been the victim of an orchestrated campaign of public defamation, and that the move to effectively put itself up for sale is the best way to protect its clients and shareholders.

The bank may opt to go private or sell a chunk of its operations to an outside investor, reports say. The present management team may retain a stake in the new entity however in order to maintain an interest in the day-to-day running of the firm, the Financial Times says.