Belfast Telegraph

Stricken Greek banks receive cash injection

By Lefteris Papadismas and George Georgiopouols

Greece has handed €18bn (£14bn) to its four biggest banks allowing the stricken lenders to regain access to European Central Bank funding.

The long-awaited injection - via bonds from the European Financial Stability Facility rescue fund - will boost the nearly depleted capital base of National Bank, Alpha, Eurobank and Piraeus Bank.

"The funds have been disbursed," an official at the Hellenic Financial Stability Facility said.

The HFSF was set up to funnel funds from Greece's bailout programme to recapitalise its tottering banks. The news came as two government officials said near-bankrupt Greece could access €3bn (£2.4bn), left from its first bailout, to cover basic state payments if efforts to revive falling tax revenue fail.

"Our finance ministry efforts at this time are focused on boosting revenue," one official said.

Greece has been struggling through a fifth year of recession and political turmoil, triggered by an inconclusive vote this month that has fanned fears the country could be forced to leave the euro.

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