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Austria asks Brussels for more time for stricken bank

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Austria said on Monday that it has asked Brussels for two more years to re-privatise all of Hypo Alpe Adria, the scandal-plagued bank nationalised in 2009.

The finance ministry said that except for Hypo's Austrian unit, sold to Indian investors for 65.5 million euros ($85.4 million), it would not be able to find buyers for the rest until 2015.

Previously Vienna had wanted to sell all subsidiaries this year. Experts say that the bank may need up to one billion euros in additional capital.

Hypo Alpe Adria had to rescued by the Austrian state in 2009 after allegations of fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and false accounting. It was also hit by the global financial crisis.

The bank, which has a strong presence in the Balkans, has also been implicated in bribery cases involving former Croatian prime minister Ivo Sanader and late Austrian far-right leader Joerg Haider.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130701/austria-asks-brussels-more-time-stricken-bank