Spain May Sink Deal By Banesto, Insurer

MADRID -- A cross-shareholding accord between a large French insurance company and Banesto, Spain's third-largest bank, may be scrapped in the wake of an investigation into fiscal irregularities surrounding the transaction, the Spanish finance ministry said.

The agency temporarily suspended the agreement, under which Assurances Generales de France was to buy 4% of the Spanish bank's parent holding company and 2% of the bank, formally known as Banco Espanol de Credito.

In return, Banesto was to take a 1% stake in AGF.

It would have been the latest of several alliances among major European banks and insurers.

The government said results of an official investigation would be made public by the finance minister, Carlos Solchaga.

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