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Spain to pick bank audit firms on Monday: PM

Published on 20/05/2012

Spain will pick on Monday two independent auditing firms that will look at how deeply the country's banks are exposed to the collapsed real estate sector, the prime minister said on Sunday.

Mariano Rajoy, speaking on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Chicago, told reporters that he expected the results of the audit to be released in a month.

Amid growing concerns that Spain may need help from eurozone partners to save its banks, Rajoy spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for an hour and half during a boat trip on the Chicago River, a German official said.

The Spanish premier said he had a “very pleasant” meeting with Merkel and that she was invited to visit Spain on September 6 for an investment conference with business leaders.

“Mrs Merkel reiterated that she supports the reforms that have been undertaken in our country and particularly the exercise in transparency that Spain will conduct in its financial firms,” Rajoy said.

Rajoy denied on Saturday that the banking sector will need to be rescued by European partners.

The decision to hire auditing firms was part of drastic reforms announced this month that will force banks to set up a new 30-billion-euro ($39 billion) financial cushion and remove risky property assets from their accounts.