FRANKFURT - Ernst & Young has been appointed to examine the books of Vneshekonombank, the former Soviet foreign trade bank, a banker on the Commonwealth of Independent States bank debt panel said Tuesday.

The exam to find the volume, structure, maturities, and regional distribution of the commonwealth's external debt will start in weeks, said the banker, who asked not to be named.

The audit by Ernst & Young will focus on credits granted to the Moscow bank by suppliers. "We estimate these supplier credits to total some $5 billion," the sources sid. He was briefing reporters before the Thursday and Friday meetings of the bank advisory committee in Frankfurt.

The panel and the Interstate Council co-chairmen from Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, who oversee Vneshekonombank, will discuss the commonwealth's creditworthiness at the meetings, which will also be attended by representatives from Armenia and Belarus. The bank debt panel's meetings are expected to agree on another 90-day rollover of principal payments on the debt.

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