Foreign banks have begun talks with the Russian government on a new debt-swap agreement for billions of dollars' face amount of nearly worthless Russian treasury bonds.

Acting Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov told news agencies this week that his government was considering offering foreign bondholders "three or four options," including an exchange for new ruble bonds linked to an inflation index.

Russia last month defaulted on more than $40 billion of treasury debt, forcing foreign investors to swap their holdings into new government securities at nearly a 90% loss.

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