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executives at French bank resign over loss

Financial Law     updated  2008/10/18 03:58


The top three executives at France's Caisse d'Epargne have resigned under pressure from the government after the bank lost euro600 million ($810 million) trading derivatives amid the worldwide stock market collapse earlier this month.

The auditing board of the bank, one of France's largest, met for several hours Sunday, and announced in a statement the departures of Charles Milhoud, chairman of the management board, CEO Nicolas Merindol and Julien Carmona, head of finance.

Milhaud said he would not accept any severance pay and said in a separate statement that he took "full responsibility" for the losses, which he called "a consequence of the exceptional volatility of the markets in this period, and of the violation of instructions that the board and myself had given."

In a radio interview Monday, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said the executives' resignation was "a good thing" and "what we expected of them."

The bank announced the loss Friday, saying it occurred in equity derivatives trading for its own account and was triggered by the "extreme market volatility" and the market crash during the week of Oct. 6.

The bank said a team of five or six employees "went beyond management orders." It said it has sanctioned those responsible.


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