November 20, 2014 / 9:48 AM / 3 years ago

Switzerland's Eurofin in process of shutting down-WSJ

ZURICH, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Swiss financial company Eurofin, criticised by Portugal’s markets watchdog for helping Banco Espirito Santo (BES) raise money as it headed towards collapse earlier this year, is in the process of largely shutting down, the Wall Street Journal said.

Portugal’s CMVM watchdog said this week Eurofin was a key go-between in a complex scheme that used BES bonds via offshore companies to cover liabilities of the bank’s founding family as its business empire crumbled.

The newspaper, citing sources familiar with the matter, said in a story published on its website on Wednesday that Eurofin Holding SA was selling or spinning off businesses, winding down asset portfolios and had dismissed dozens of employees at its headquarters in Lausanne in western Switzerland.

A key business unit, Eurofin Securities SA, filed for bankruptcy in September, according to a filing in the local commercial register two months ago.

Nobody at Eurofin was immediately available to comment.

According to media reports, Espirito Santo Group companies held a 20 percent stake in Eurofin between 2004 and 2009.

In late August, Reuters reported the Espirito Santo borrowing spree, worth around 5 billion euros in January-June, and other attempts to save the family empire that ignored central bank orders that the management stop mixing the lender’s affairs with the family business. (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Mark Potter)

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