Greece receives first tranche of new bailout aid

Greece has received the first 7.5 billion euros of aid from its new EU/IMF bailout, with the bulk of the payment going to repay bonds held by the euro zone’s central banks, government officials said on Tuesday.

The International Monetary Fund and Greece’s eurozone partners last week approved a second 130 billion euro ($172.15 billion) rescue to keep the debt-choked country afloat through 2014.

“We received 5.9 billion euros from the eurozone and 1.6 billion euros from the IMF,» a Finance Ministry official told Reuters.

The official said Greece would use this money to pay 4.66 billion euros to the European Central Bank and other eurozone national central banks for the capital amount of a three-year bond which expired on Tuesday. The amount will also cover about 200 million euros in interest on the same bond, with the rest going to cover budget needs, the official said.

In the largest debt restructuring in history, private creditors have taken losses on their Greek bondholdings, but not official creditors such as the ECB, meaning Athens must still pay out coupons and maturing debt.

Parliament is scheduled to ratify the bailout deal later on Tuesday, as expected.

A government spokesman said Athens would name a new finance minister to replace Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday or Wednesday. Venizelos quit on Monday to lead the PASOK socialist party to elections scheduled to take place by early May. [Reuters]

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