ZURICH, March 23 (Reuters) – Switzerland’s financial market regulator FINMA defended its decision to impose steep losses on Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) bond holders on Thursday, saying the decision was legally watertight.

On Sunday, Switzerland announced a multi-billion franc rescue of Credit Suisse, which will see it taken over by UBS.

As part of that deal the Swiss regulator ordered 16 billion Swiss francs ($17.49 billion) of its Additional Tier 1 debt to be written down to zero, while shareholders received some compensation.

“The AT1 instruments issued by Credit Suisse contractually provide that they will be completely written down in a ‘viability event’, in particular if extraordinary government support is granted,” FINMA said.

“As Credit Suisse received extraordinary liquidity assistance loans secured by a federal default guarantee on 19 March 2023, these contractual conditions were met for the AT1 instruments issued by the bank,” it added.

Tier 2 bonds will not be written down, FINMA said.

FINMA Director Urban Angehrn said that “a solution was found on Sunday to protect clients, the financial centre and the markets”.

($1 = 0.9148 Swiss francs)

Reporting by John Revill, Editing by Friederike Heine

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