March 30, 2015 / 6:35 AM / in 4 years

Soros says ready to invest $1 bln in Ukraine if West helps

VIENNA, March 30 (Reuters) - Billionaire financier George Soros is ready to invest $1 billion in Ukraine, if Western countries help private investment there. He also put the odds of Greece leaving the euro at a third, in an interview with Austrian newspaper Der Standard.

Soros has previously urged the West to step up aid to Ukraine, outlining steps towards a $50 billion financing package that he said should be viewed as a bulwark against an increasingly aggressive Russia.

“The West can help Ukraine by increasing attractiveness for investors. A political risk insurance is necessary. This could take the form of mezzanine financing at EU interest rates — very close to zero,” he said in an interview published on Monday.

“I stand ready. There are concrete investment ideas, for example in agriculture and infrastructure projects. I would put in $1 billion. This must generate a profit. My foundation would benefit from this ... Private engagement needs strong political leadership.”

The Hungarian-born hedge fund magnate, who made his name betting against the pound in 1992, also put the chance of Greece leaving the euro zone at a third. Last week he put it at 50:50.

Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Larry King

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