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Hungary watchdog launches probe into OTP sell - off

  Hungary’s financial markets watchdog PSZAF has launched an inquiry into a sell-off in OTP Bank’s shares on the Budapest bourse on Thursday, the regulator said on Friday.


OTP’s shares fell over 14% in late trade on Thursday to end at Ft 3,855 ($20.96), its lowest level since May 2004 on market talk that the government planned to nationalize it. OTP, central Europe’s biggest independent bank, and the government both denied the rumor.

Market watchdog PSZÁF said the sudden nature and extent of the price falls triggered its inquiry. “Given the size, timing and the significant (price) difference of the deal in contrast to previous quotes, acting under its legal obligations, the Financial Services Authority has launched a market supervision procedure with immediate effect,” PSZÁF said.

“The market supervision procedure is aimed at revealing whether ... elements of market abuse and price manipulation materialized in relation with the noted share sale transactions,” it said. (Reuters)