Serbia arrests bank managers over bad loans
* Prosecutors cite bad loans worth over 200 mln euros
* Agrobanka's collapse part of row over central bank
BELGRADE Aug 9 (Reuters) - Police in Serbia have arrested a number of top officials at a collapsed local bank on suspicion of extending loans without adequate insurance, in the first high-level arrests since a Socialist-led government came to power.
Serbia's organised crime prosecutor said late on Wednesday that managers of Agrobanka and two private companies had been arrested. It did not name the suspects but Serbian media reported that the bank's former chairman, Dusan Antonic, was among them.
The prosecutor said in a statement that an investigation had shown that "a large number of loans were extended to companies without adequate insurance, in violation of the bank law."
"As a consequence, this created bad loans worth more than 200 million euros," the statement said.
The new government had accused former central bank governor Dejan Soskic of negligence in the collapse of Agrobanka, where authorities uncovered an unaudited 2011 loss of 29.7 billion dinars ($113.4 million). The state held a 20-percent stake in the lender.
The central bank revoked Agrobanka's licence in May and Belgrade's Commerce Court launched bankruptcy proceedings.
Soskic denied any wrongdoing, saying the central bank had reacted as soon as the irregularities emerged.
But he has since resigned over a push by the government to step up control over the central bank. Ruling coalition lawmaker Jorgovanka Tabakovic was appointed to replace him on Monday, deepening concern over the independence of monetary policy in the EU candidate state. (Reporting by Zoran Radosavljevic; editing by Patrick Graham)
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