* Farhat Bengdara is UniCredit vice chairman
* Contact had been lost for about a week
* Libyan investors own 7.6 pct of UniCredit
MILAN, March 2 (Reuters) - UniCredit (CRDI.MI) said on Wednesday it had restored contact after a week with Farhat Bengdara, Libya’s central bank governor, who is also a vice chairman in Italy’s top bank.
The central bank of Libya is UniCredit’s No. 3 investor with a stake of nearly 5 percent. Libya’s sovereign wealth fund owns another 2.6 percent of UniCredit.
Shares of UniCredit had been under pressure since protests, and then open rebellion, erupted in the North African country in February, given its sizeable Libyan shareholder base.
The United Nations has decided to impose a freeze on assets owned by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
UniCredit tapped Libyan investors in the credit crisis as it sought investments to boost its capital base. Libyan investors are also present in large Italian companies such as oil giant Eni (ENI.MI) and defence group Finmeccanica SIFI.MI
The entry of Libyan investors into UniCredit’s shareholder capital triggered friction between Italian shareholders and former UniCredit Chief Executive Alessandro Profumo, contributing to his tumultuous exit. [ID:nLDE68K0MS] (Reporting by Lisa Jucca; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)