EU: Banks must disclose toxic assets

March 15, 2009 at 9:32 AM

BRUSSELS, March 15 (UPI) -- The European Union won't sign off on long-term plans for bailed-out banks that refuse to disclose the extent of their "toxic assets," an EU official says.

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes told banking executives at a conference in Brussels Saturday she would not approve bank bailouts or restructurings under the EU's "rescue aid" rules unless the institutions are willing to come clean about the extent of their problematic holdings, The Financial Times reported.

"To protect taxpayers and maintain the level playing field, the public purse will simply not be open to banks who do not want to open their books in return," she told the conference, which was organized by Deutsche Bank.

Deadlines are approaching for European banks that have received emergency government bailout funds to submit long-term restructuring plans, which must be approved by the European Commission. And so far, Kroes says she is frustrated with the way banks had been behaving.

"In many recent meetings with bank chief executives, I am told their bank is fine, but the other banks have problems. They cannot all be right," the Financial Times quoted her saying.

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