November 28, 2018 / 5:36 PM / 13 days ago

Russian bank expunges mention of $12 billion loan to poor African state

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian lender VTB on Wednesday revised its data on exposure to foreign borrowers to remove reference to a $12 billion loan to Central African Republic (CAR) which it said had been entered due to a clerical error.

The mention of the loan was included in a quarterly VTB financial report published on Tuesday by the Russian central bank on outstanding financial claims that VTB group had on dozens of countries as of Oct. 1 this year.

Asked by Reuters about the loan, which is roughly 12 times CAR’s annual economic output, VTB said on Tuesday there was no such loan, and that it had been included in the data by mistake.

A new version of the quarterly data was published on the central bank’s website on Wednesday, with no mention of CAR among the countries on which VTB had outstanding claims.

The data for VTB group claims on borrowers in Cyprus had also been revised, to 1,035,975,600,000 roubles ($15.40 billion), from 234,041,779,000 roubles ($3.48 billion) in the data that was published by the central bank a day earlier.

VTB Chief Executive Andrey Kostin was quoted as saying by Russia’s RBC television channel that bank staff had mixed up Cyprus with CAR when compiling the initial data.

Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya and Tatiana Voronova; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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