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Chavez to nationalize subsidiary of Spanish bank

Latest update : 2008-08-01

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the nationalization of Banco de Venezuela, a subsidiary of Spain's Santander bank. The company is one of the country's largest financial institutions.

CARACAS - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said on Thursday he will nationalize the local unit of Spain's Grupo Santander bank, expanding his drive for state control of key sectors of the OPEC-nation's economy.


Grupo Santander owns Banco de Venezuela, one of the largest banks in the nation's financial system with $700 million invested in Venezuela operations.


Chavez, who threatened to take over banks last year, said he had decided to buy Banco de Venezuela after Santander asked for permission to sell it to a local finance group.


"I said 'No, I'll buy it from you -- what's it worth? We'll pay it,'" Chavez said during a live television broadcast.


Santander was not immediately available for comment.


In the last two years Venezuela's socialist government has taken over large swathes of the economy, including oil projects, telecommunications and steel and cement plants.


Banco de Venezuela is the South American nation's third largest bank in terms of deposits and the fourth measured by its credit portfolio.

Date created : 2008-07-31