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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2006, 14:17 GMT
Swiss bank welcomes Iran trade
The Iranian nuclear power plant of Natanz
Iran has been reported to the UN over its nuclear programme
A Swiss bank has said it is willing to take on Iranian clients, discarded by larger rivals because of concerns about security and other business risks.

Julius Baer said it would welcome any client, as long as it could prove its funds were legitimate and its country of origin was not subject to sanctions.

Fellow banks UBS and Credit Suisse have begun to sever business ties with Iran.

Some firms are worried that the risk of doing business in Iran could spiral amid growing tension with the West.

Sanctions threat

The threat of sanctions is hanging over Iran after it was reported to the UN Security Council for the resumption of its nuclear programme, in the form of research into enrichment.

Don't forget that our clients may not be the biggest fans of those regimes in those countries
Alex Widmer, Julius Baer

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has said he is not willing to bend to international pressure over the issue.

UBS revealed last month it was stopping business with clients based in Iran, claiming that the economic risks of continuing to operate in the country were too high.

Julius Baer said it would consider taking on Iranian clients from other banks as long as they satisfied its legal and regulatory requirements.

"If a client fulfils these know-your-customer rules, then we welcome them as a client to Julius Baer," said Alex Widmer, head of the company's private banking division.

"Don't forget that our clients may not be the biggest fans of those regimes in those countries," he added.

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