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MNB partially suspends Quaestor licence

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The National Bank of Hungary (MNB) today said it partially suspended the operating licence of Quaestor Securities Trading and Investment Company because of irregularities discovered during an audit started yesterday, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

The MNB could put an oversight commissioner in charge of the company today, pending a decision by the Financial Stability Council, the central bank and financial market regulator said.

Quaestor may not take new client orders, but an oversight commissioner could close open positions in the interest of clients, the MNB said. While the oversight measures are in force, clients' right of disposal over their securities and financial assets will be suspended in the interest of clearing up the irregularities, it added.

The MNB has informed Hungary's investigation authority on the matter.

Hungary's Quaestor Financial Hrurira, a member of the Quaestor Group, filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday as clients panicked by the Buda-Cash scandal raced to sell their securities.

Quaestor Financial Hrurira, which has no connection to the Buda-Cash scandal, said the decision was of a technical nature, giving it time to find a solution in the best interest of securities holders. Quaestor said the panic caused by the scandal had made normal operation of the market impossible and made a plea for state intervention.

The National Bank of Hungary (MNB) recently revoked the licence of brokerage Buda-Cash and a number of banks with which it has ties. Damages resulting from the scandal are thought to reach HUF 100 bln.

Quaestor Financial Hrurira had total assets of HUF 47.2 bln at the end of 2013. Liabilities on bonds issued by the company came to HUF 44.5 bln.

The company launched a HUF 70 bln bond program last year.

The Quaestor group, including Quaestor Financial Hrurira parent Quaestor Pénzügyi Tanácsadó, has more than 200,000 clients and employs more than 600 people.

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