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Hungary, Russia deny knowledge of inter-government talks on Malév

Hungarian diplomats in Moscow told MTI they knew nothing about the Hungarian government turning to the Russian government about Hungarian airline Malév.

Public television broadcaster MTV reported Monday evening that the Hungarian government had turned to its counterpart in Moscow regarding a €62 million bank guarantee from Vnesekonombank granted when Malév was privatized.

The connection between the two is the person of Boris Abramovich, who owns a minority stake in AiRUnion, a Russian airline in danger of bankruptcy, as well as 49% of Hungary's Airbridge, which owns Malév.

Government spokesman Dávid Daróczi told MTI on Monday evening that the position of Malev could be a topic of discussion at the Hungarian-Russian mixed Economic Committee.

Hungary's National Asset Management Company (MNV) is watching closely to see the conditions in Malév's privatization contract, backed by the bank guarantee, are kept by Airbridge, MNV spokesman Gábor Száraz told MTI. MNV still owns elements of Malév - including its brand - that Airbridge may not acquire until it pays Malév's debt, he added.

Malév said at the beginning of September that Vnesekonombank would lend it €30 million. With the loan, Airbridge will more than meet its promise to inject capital into the airline, it said.

Government spokeswoman Bernadett Budai said the Malév matter has been in no form on the cabinet agenda. If MNV has any problem, it will turn to the relevant ministry, which will turn to the government. (MTI – Econews)