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Business

EU denies alleged Spanish bid for early rescue cash

The European Commission has denied a report in the Spanish daily El Pais according to which Madrid was seeking rescue funds for its banks sooner than previously agreed. It said Spain had made no such request.

European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly on Wednesday dismissed a report in the Spanish daily El Pais which claimed that the government in Madrid had asked for urgent help to bail out its ailing banking sector.

"At this stage we have not received a demand from Spanish authorities to activate urgent help in the context of the aid plan for Spanish banks," Bailly said in a statement in Brussels. "I cannot confirm at all the scenario written in the press today."

El Pais said in its Wednesday edition that Bankia and other Spanish lenders might receive European rescue funds sooner than the October date previously agreed on. The newspaper quoted a government source as saying that "there's an installment of 30 billion euros ($37.15 billion) and a possibility of an earlier injection."

Contradicting statements

El Pais added the rescue funds in question for Bankia, Bankia de Valencia and other lenders were being finalized and would be transferred to them within days.

So far, the official version had been that Madrid was planning to announce after the results of a September audit just how much Spanish lenders needed as a first installment of eurozone loans.

The loans would be part of a credit line of up to 100 billion euros supposed to stabilize Spanish banks which are still struggling with mountains of bad assets from a property bubble that burst back in 2008.

hg/msh (AFP, dpa)