SOFIA -- U.S. and Bulgarian investors have formed a bank in Sofia that will begin operating within two months, bank officials said.

The Bulgarian-American Bank has authorized capital of 50 million leva, equal to $2.6 million. Half the capital came from Parmen Investment Capital of the United States.

The Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has invested 40% and Sredets Bank 10%.

"The focus of the bank's activity will be promotion of foreign investments with privatization getting under way in Bulgaria, and introduction of Western know-how," said Vladimir Lambrev, rice chairman of the new bank.

The management of Bulgarian-American Bank will be predominantly American. The chairman is a former Iranian finance minister, Houshang Ansari, who is now a U.S. citizen.

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