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New Greece suicides; Spain mulls superbank

May 25, 2012 at 2:30 AM   |   Comments

MADRID, May 25 (UPI) -- Spain mulled creating a state-owned superbank to absorb failing banks, while in Greece a financially ruined man and his 90-year-old mother committed suicide.

Luis de Guindos, Spain's minister of the economy and competitiveness, told reporters the possible superbank would absorb Spain's now-nationalized No. 4 bank, Bankia SA conglomerate -- formed from seven struggling regional savings banks in December 2010 -- and other troubled banks.

Three banks being considered -- banks whose near-insolvency is largely due to unsound real estate lending -- include No. 4 savings bank, CatalunyaCaixa, year-old Novagalicia Banco and No. 6 commercial lender, Bank of Valencia, the Spanish daily El Pais reported.

Madrid had planned to put at least CatalunyaCaixa and Novagalicia up for auction but is leaning against doing so because it believes it won't get enough money for them, the newspaper said.

"In the end run, the objective is to clean up the Spanish financial system," de Guindos said. "The government is taking stock. All options are open."

Spaniards, like Greeks, are pulling money out of Spanish banks and transferring it to banks in other countries -- with some people converting their money into non-euro currencies -- amid growing fears Madrid will not be able to support Spain's struggling banking sector, The New York Times reported.

Some worry Spain will be forced to leave the eurozone -- as many fear Greece will do -- and re-adopt its old currency, the peseta, the newspaper said.

In Spain about 4.3 percent of bank deposits, or about $51 billion, has left the country in the past year. In Greece, nearly one-third of the country's bank deposits have left the country in the past two years.

Spain's national deposit insurance fund is virtually bankrupt, the Times said.

In central Athens, a 60-year-old unemployed musician and his 90-year-old mother leaped to their deaths from their apartment building's fifth-floor roof Thursday, witnesses said.

Witnesses told Athens News the pair held hands while jumping, while others, quoted by Greece's NewsIt Web site, said Antonis Perris pushed his Alzheimer's-plagued mother from the roof first, and then jumped.

Perris wrote on the blog stoixoi.info Wednesday night his mother, whom he had taken care of for 20 years, began having schizophrenic fits recently and no nursing home would accept her.

The two lived together on the mother's $426 pension, NewsIt said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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