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Russia holds no talks on corporate debt restructuring - Kudrin

MOSCOW, February 10 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government has no intention to consider restructuring the foreign liabilities of domestic companies and banks, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Tuesday.

Japanese business newspaper Nikkei on Tuesday quoted the head of the Russian Association of Regional Banks, Anatoly Aksakov, as saying that he had sent a letter to the Russian government with a proposal to ask foreign financial institutions to reschedule loans worth up to $400 billion.

"The government does not plan to make any decision on foreign private debt rescheduling and no such talks are being held," Kudrin said.

The article published by Nikkei was interpreted by global markets as a threat of default by Russian companies, sending European stocks down in opening deals. Analysts say European financial institutions are the main creditors of Russian companies.

Aksakov told RIA Novosti later on Tuesday that his statement about the possibility of private debt restructuring had been misinterpreted in Japan.

According to Aksakov, he sent a letter to First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov saying that if any Russian companies needed to restructure foreign liabilities falling due in 2009, they should turn to their foreign lenders with a corresponding request while the government should act as a moderator in this process.

Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of the Russian prime minister, also said on Tuesday that no talks on the restructuring of the foreign debts of domestic companies and banks were under way.

"The information published in the Nikkei newspaper with reference to Aksakov is incorrect. The claim that the Russian government is holding talks on the restructuring of corporate debts bears no relation to reality," Peskov said.

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