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20 Nov, 2008 04:26

Finance Minister faces bailout grilling in Duma

Angry politicians have hit out at Russia's Finance Minister, demanding to know where the $150 Billion he's pumped into the economy have gone. But at an extraordinary session in Parliament, Aleksey Kudrin claimed money is now getting through.

MPs are fuming the government's $150 Billion in loans haven't got to cash-strapped industry.

The Kremlin gave the cash to Russia's biggest banks expecting they'd lend it on. But Deputy Finance MInister Sergey Shatalov admitted to Business RT banks are too afraid the recipients will go bankrupt, before they can pay back. On Wednesday MPs got their chance to grill Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin. Nikolay Kolomiytsev, from the Communist Party Central Committee was straight to the point.

“Are you keeping track of this money at all? How much has got through to companies exactly? When will they get all this cash you've promised?”

Firebrand MP Vladimir Zhirionvsky went further.

“You're like a kid who's lost 100 Roubles in the street saying 'Mum the money's not there, but I haven't lost it.' Just admit it, you've lost the money.”

Kudrin countered some money had got through to the firms intended.

 “Vladimir Volfovich, you're a liar. Real companies in agriculture and carbuilding have already got $8 Billion from VTB Bank alone.”

To kickstart lending, the Finance Ministry will now guarantee some 20 per cent of banks' loans if they're not repaid.