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Russian bank owner of Malev airline
A top Russian government minister said Saturday that state-owned Vnesheconombank is taking ownership of Hungary's Malev Airlines, the Interfax news agency reported.
The move is the latest twist for the long-struggling Hungarian carrier and a high-profile acquisition for the Russian bank.
Interfax quoted First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov as saying that Vnesheconombank's strategic partner in restructuring Malev would be Russian airline stalwart Aeroflot. He also suggested that more Russian routes would be added to Malev flights. "Malev, as the Hungarian national air carrier, will have good prospects," he was quoted as saying in Budapest.
The Hungarian government sold a 99.95-percent stake in troubled Malev in February 2007 for a reported $1.07 million. Vnesheconombank inherited control of the carrier from KrasAir, a major Russian airline that went bankrupt last year under the weight of debts. Like Aeroflot, KrasAir was majority controlled by the Russian government.