Goldman denies made Greek bank sales pitch to China

LONDON Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:56am EST

LONDON (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs denied a media report it had been mooting the sale of equity in National Bank of Greece to Chinese banks as debt-ridden Greece struggles to fix its public finances.

The Financial Times on Wednesday reported Goldman Sachs had been mooting the sale of equity in NBG, Greece's largest lender to Bank of China or to the China Investment Corp, the country's sovereign wealth fund.

GS said it was not involved in any such deal.

The FT also said GS had been promoting a Greek bond sale to China and to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, which manages China's foreign exchange reserves, as Greece hoped to sell 25 billion euros ($35.15 billion) of bonds.

A source close to the bank said that while it was keen to do further business with Greece, there was no project underway to place debt specifically with Chinese investors.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment on whether it was specifically targeting Chinese investors.

"If China was about to buy (even) 5 billion euros of Greek debt, its spread would be trading nearer at 100 basis points not 300 basis points," one senior sovereign banker said, asking not to be named.

Greece in a statement denied there was a deal to sell Greek bonds to China, and said that the Finance Ministry had not mandated Goldman Sachs to negotiate a deal with China.

Goldman Sachs this week was one of the joint-lead managers on Greece's sale of an 8 billion euro government bond.

($1=.7112 Euro)

(Reporting by Douwe Miedema and Alex Chambers; editing by Patrick Graham)

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