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Former finance minister Járai asked to prepare to buy MKB Bank stake

Former finance minister and central bank governor Zsigmond Járai has been informally asked to prepare to buy a stake in Hungary's MKB Bank with a group of investors, business weekly Figyelő says in its latest issue, out Thursday, citing information from several sources.

Járai and the group of investors would buy the almost 10% stake in MKB Bank owned by Austrian bank BAWAG. BAWAG must part with the stake as a condition for a €550 million capital injection by the state approved by the European Commission.

Talks with representatives of the government and BayernLB, MKB Bank's other big owner, have already been held on the matter, but they stalled over the issue of price, Figyelő said.

Járai would give the government a source of information on the bank's board, which could be useful in preparations for a larger transaction later, Figyelő said.

MKB Bank had a consolidated pre-tax loss of HUF 52.4 billion in the first half as risk provisions rose sharply, the bank said in August. Risk provisions grew to almost HUF 77.5 billion in H1 from HUF 29.7 billion in the same period a year earlier. (MTI-Econews)