Hedge Fund Closes After $600m Losses

Reuters reports that Bluebay Asset Management is to close its Emerging Market Total Return Fund, after losing around $600m in assets, mainly over the last two months, due to market volatility.

Firm CEO Hugh Willis said in a statement that 'while we regret these developments, we should like to stress that they do not affect in any way our commitment to emerging markets, which remain a core area of specialisation'.

Bloomberg reports that Commerzbank is to speed up its purchase of troubled rival Dresdner Bank by taking full control in January - one year early. In consideration for bringing the purchase forward, Commerzbank will pay some $1.3bn less for Dresdner than originally agreed.

Reuters reports that Citigroup says that the recent press coverage concerning senior executive Robert Rubin is 'misleading', and denies that he was the architect of the firm's strategy to expand into CDOs and other risky products. Rubin, who is said to have bagged over $107m during his 9 years at the firm, is said not to have had an 'operating role'. (Ed's note - so what exactly did he do for his money ?).

The Wall Street Journal reports that The Federal Reserve Board has now officially approved Bank of America's purchase of Merrill Lynch, which is due to close in the first-quarter 2009.

Finally, The Independent reports that US prosecutors are now looking into whether Joseph Cassano, the former head of AIG's London-based financial products group, may have misled investors over the risks attached to the derivative instruments that his unit was structuring.

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