Minister slams Deutsche Bank boss for Greece remarks

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Germany's economy minister has lashed out at the head of the country's top bank for saying that Greece would not be able to pay back loans made to it, calling his remarks "annoying."

In comments in Singapore on Saturday reported on the website of the financial weekly Wirtschaftswoche, Rainer Bruederle said: "I find the declarations strange, surprising and annoying."

"At a time when the debate is being carried out so publicly, such a strong statement on the television is not helpful," he added.

In an interview aired late Thursday, Deutsche Bank chief executive Josef Ackermann said he was "doubtful whether Greece will really be in a position to achieve" the repayment of billion of euros (dollars) in emergency EU loans.

Ackermann's comments weighed heavily on the German stock market and the euro, drawing fire from the press, with the Financial Times Deutschland saying his remarks were "dangerous for everyone" and "outrageous."

The European Union and International Monetary Fund have cobbled together a rescue package for Greece worth some 110 billion euros in loans over three years, of which Germany is expected to make available 22.4 billion euros.

The EU and IMF have also agreed a package worth almost one trillion dollars designed to prevent any contagion in the eurozone and allow its members to restore their public finances to health.

On Friday, Berlin sought to downplay the comments, with spokeswoman Sabine Heimbach telling a regular briefing: "The federal government does not at the moment see any reason to speculate about such a scenario."

© 2010 AFP

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