PANAMA CITY, July 18 Panamanian banking
supervisors said on Friday they had taken control of ES Bank SA,
a small unit of Portugal's Espirito Santo, which is facing
intense scrutiny from investors and regulators over revelations
of irregularities at related companies.
Banco Espirito Santo, Portugal's largest-listed
lender, is under investigation after disclosing financial
irregularities at firms owned by the Espirito Santo family, the
bank's largest shareholder, which have raised the possibility of
destabilizing losses at the bank, too.
Panamanian regulators took over Espirito Santo's Panamanian
subsidiary to "protect and defend the interests of depositors
and creditors of the institution, given the lack of liquidity
and potential insolvency," they said in a statement.
The takeover of the bank, which was granted a foreign
license in 2001, will last 30 days and will not affect the
Panamanian financial system, regulators added.
Reuters was not immediately able to reach ES Bank, which had
listed assets of $793 million and liabilities of $711 million,
according to a December 2013 financial statement posted on its
(Reporting by Eli Moreno, Writing by Alexandra Alper; Editing
by Ken Wills)