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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lukashenko Denies State Bank Seizure

MINSK -- Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has denied that plans to increase state shares in six big banks are tantamount to nationalizing them.

"I am not going to nationalize banks, I am merely going to restore justice," Lukashenko told a news conference on Monday evening.

Lukashenko said commercial banks last year earned clear profits equivalent to $150 million "all of which went into the pockets of shareholders. We need to reintroduce justice here."

The Belarussian president said he believes in moderate introduction of market moves in the former Soviet republic, including some controls over prices to protect low-income earners.

He announced plans last week to increase state control over the six banks -- Belagroprombank, Belbisnesbank, Belpromstroibank, Belvneshekonombank, Priorbank and Sberbank BelarusBank.