Societe Generale profit down on investment banking

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PARIS (AP) -- French bank Societe Generale says its earnings dropped sharply in the first quarter as it took losses dumping complex structured financial products in its ongoing bid to meet new international banking capital requirements.

The bank that gained fame as the victim of convicted fraudster Jerome Kerviel says profit from corporate and investment banking, its largest division, slumped 40.6 percent in the quarter as the bank took losses disposing of 4.9 billion ($6.43 billion) in collatoralized debt obligations and other risky, capital-intensive assets.

In a statement Thursday, Societe Generale says that the steep drop in investment banking left its overall net profit down 20 percent to 732 million in the first quarter.