updated 12/6/2010 11:16:16 AM ET 2010-12-06T16:16:16

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Dec. 6, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A Memphis, Tennessee based Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel awarded $2,427,433 to five clients of Aidikoff, Uhl & Bakhtiari that purchased Mat Five. The award is believed to be the largest award to date involving the Mat product. The FINRA arbitrators also assessed the entire cost of the hearing against Citigroup Global Markets, Inc.

Mat Five was a leveraged municipal arbitrage hedge fund launched by Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. and sold through Smith Barney, part of Citigroup's (NYSE:C) Global Wealth Management Group. Mat Five and the earlier launched Mat funds were marketed exclusively to high net worth clients of the firm between 2002 and 2007. Mat Five was launched in February 2007 and imploded along with the other Mat funds in February 2008 causing catastrophic losses to investors. An identical product known as ASTA was marketed and sold to clients of the Citi Private Bank. 

"This award represents a return of 100 percent of our clients' losses plus interest representing what they would have received if the money had been properly invested in municipal bonds which is the way that Mat was sold," according to Philip M. Aidikoff. "This is a significant win for investors and sends the message to Citi that you cannot mislead experienced and affluent investors."

"The fund was represented by Citigroup to its brokers as a fixed income alternative with the volatility of the Lehman Brothers Aggregate Bond Index," stated Ryan K. Bakhtiari who added, "In truth, evidence at the hearing demonstrated that Mat was a risky investment which exposed investors to a 100 percent or more loss of principal."

Aidikoff, Uhl & Bakhtiari continues to investigate FINRA arbitration claims on behalf of investors who suffered losses in leveraged municipal arbitrage products including Mat, ASTA, 1861 Capital Management, S&Y Municipal Advantage Fund and the Aravali Fund.

More information is available by contacting an attorney below.

CONTACT: Aidikoff, Uhl & Bakhtiari
         Beverly Hills, California
         Philip M. Aidikoff
         Ryan K. Bakhtiari
         (800) 382-7969

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