Dec. 3, 11:00 A.M. -- Edmond J. Safra, who founded Republic Bank of New York, was found dead Thursday in his penthouse in Monte Carlo.

Monaco police said Mr. Safra, 67, and an employee were found suffocated in the penthouse which sits atop a Republic Bank building in Monaco. Police said two hooded men, armed with knifes, broke into the residence setting off alarms. Mr. Safra and the employee apparently barricaded themselves in a room. Police were called to the scene and found the body of Mr. Safra after a fire engulfed the penthouse.

Mr. Safra had recently agreed to take a $450 million cut in the sale price of Republic, which is being bought by London's HSBC Holdings PLC. The deal is set to close by yearend. A statement by HSBC and a spokeswoman for Republic said Mr. Safra's death would not effect the $9.7 billion merger.

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