updated 12/14/2010 12:47:03 PM ET 2010-12-14T17:47:03

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Dec. 14, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A Los Angeles, California based Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel awarded $304,639 to clients of Aidikoff, Uhl & Bakhtiari that purchased ASTA Five. The FINRA arbitrators also assessed the entire cost of the hearing against Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. and ordered the firm to pay $18,500 in expert witness and $13,129 in court reporter costs. 

"Not only did our clients receive all of their losses, the arbitrators also awarded expert witness costs, court reporter costs and all FINRA forum fees," according to Steven B. Caruso of Maddox Hargett & Caruso. "This is an important win for ASTA/Mat investors. The clear message to Citi is that you cannot mislead investors irrespective of their wealth and experience."

"Our firm has now represented 13 families in ASTA/Mat arbitration hearings involving Citigroup," stated Ryan K. Bakhtiari of Aidikoff, Uhl & Bakhtiari. Mr. Bakhtiari added, "Each of the 13 families has won a significant award. Ten of the 13 have received awards of 100 percent or more of their losses."

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

Aidikoff, Uhl & Bakhtiari continues to investigate FINRA arbitration claims on behalf of investors who suffered losses in leveraged municipal arbitrage products including ASTA and Mat.

More information is available by contacting an attorney below.

CONTACT:  Aidikoff, Uhl & Bakhtiari
          Beverly Hills, California
          (800) 382-7969
          Philip M. Aidikoff
            paidi@aol.com
          Ryan K. Bakhtiari
            rbakhtiari@aol.com
          www.securitiesarbitration.com

          Maddox Hargett & Caruso, P.C.
          (212) 837-7908
          Steven B. Caruso
          sbcaruso@aol.com 
          www.investorprotection.com
          80 Broad Street, 5th Floor
          New York, New York 10004

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