Bulgaria's Central Bank Revokes License of Corporate Commercial Bank

Business » FINANCE | July 11, 2014, Friday // 11:47
Bulgaria: Bulgaria's Central Bank Revokes License of Corporate Commercial Bank Reports suggest only some media outlets were allowed in the BNB's headquarters, even though no condition of previous registration had been announced. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) is to suspend the license of troubled Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) and to nationalize its subsidiary, Credit Agricole Bulgaria.

BNB is also to transfer citizens' and companies' assets held in KTB into Credit Agricole Bulgaria, where money from Bulgaria's Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF), which protects personal and corporate deposits up to EUR 100 000.

At the same time, some BGN 3.5 B (EUR 1.75 B) seem to be "missing" from the bank,  public broadcaster BNR quoted the central bank's Governor Ivan Iskrov as saying.

It is the 3.5-billion-worth gap that changed BNB's "initial plans" to help KTB to recuperate after stepping into its management to avoid a further crisis, he explained.

Iskrov made the announcement at a press conference at which BNB was expected to announce the results of an independent audit carried out at KTB, Bulgaria's fourth-largest bank, which fell under conservatorship upon its own request after registering shortage of liquidity.

The name of Credit Agricole Bulgaria is due to be changed as it passes into state hands.

But Iskrov assured the filial had been "very well governed" prior to the events of mid-June and will be open on July 21.

Previously July 21 had been set as the date on which BNB was due to lift the special supervision from KTB and it would be open to customers. Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski even cited the event as a reason to put off his planned resignation until later that week.

As for KTB, only the assets of major shareholder Tsvetan Vasilev and affiliated companies will remain in the bank and will not be guaranteed by the state.

The document made public by BNB also reveals Vasilev withdrew nearly BGN 206 M (EUR 103 M) from his bank using the services of a "third person".

Other BGN 1 B (EUR 0.5 B) have been withdrawn on June 18, 19 and 20, amid media conferences of KTB's Governing Council, the report also points without elaborating further.

Additionally, out of a BGN 5.4 B loans portfolio, the profiles of lenders having provided BGN 3.5 B could not be found by the independent auditors.

BNB posted an official announcement on its website as well, saying results of the inspection contained evidence of "actions that are incompatible with the law and good banking practices."

It also said the prepared document would be referred to Bulgaria's Chief Prosecutor.

The press conference held to announce the audit's results sparked controversy earlier on Friday, with a number of media outlets complaining their representatives had not been allowed into the BNB headquarters.

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Tags: Tsvetan Vasilev, Ivan Iskrov, license, liquidity, conservatorship, Credit Agricole Bulgaria, Corporate Commercial Bank, KTB, BNB, DIF

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