Tags: Chavez | banks | nationalize | venezuela

Chavez Threatens to Nationalize Venezuelan Banks

Sunday, 29 Nov 2009 10:13 PM


President Hugo Chavez has threatened to nationalise Venezuelan banks that broke regulations.

The president said he would do whatever was necessary to prevent irregularities amid a scandal that had already prompted his government to take over management of four banks.

"I warn the country's private bankers: I'll take away any bank from anyone who slips up," Mr Chavez said during his weekly television and radio programme.

"Do you want me to nationalise the banks?" he said, adding that he would have "no problem" ordering state takeovers.

The government took over management of four small banks on November 20, citing various irregularities. The four institutions - Canarias, Confederado, Bolivar and BanPro - account for 5.7% of Venezuela's banking sector.

They were purchased in September and October by a group of investors headed by Ricardo Fernandez, who is involved in the food industry and sells products to a network of state-run subsidised markets known as Mercal. Mr Fernandez and his lawyer, Jose Camacho, have been arrested on charges of misappropriating deposits and providing loans to other businesses in which they were investor

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