Troika talks hit snag over 555-mln-euro payment by banks to state

The Finance Ministry and the troika are at odds over a 555-million-euro payment that Greek banks are due to make to the state by the end of the year.

The amount is the dividend on preferential shares that the Greek state owns in the banks following a capital injection of 5 billion euros into the lenders in 2008.

However, the troika is arguing that the amount needed to recapitalize Greek banks will rise if the dividend is paid and that the process should be stopped.

This would mean the Finance Ministry taking a hit of 555 million euros to the revenues it planned to raise this year and having to find the money from somewhere else.

The troika has proposed that Greece either look to increase revenues through new or increased taxes or scrap the holiday payments of 1,000 euros for civil servants from this year, rather than 2013 as had been planned.

The Finance Ministry is said to have strongly opposed the troika?s demands on Wednesday and sources said that Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras offered to resign if Greece?s lenders do not back down.

Talks between the two sides are due to resume on Thursday afternoon.

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