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Chavez nationalizes two more private banks

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says that he has ordered the nationalization of two more private banks which were shut down by his government.

“Once they have been rehabilitated the Bolivar and Confederado banks will become part of the public financial system,” Chavez told a televised meeting of economic ministers.

The move is the latest government action against private financial institutions in Venezuela, where Chavez this week dissolved two other private banks: Banco Canarias and BanPro.

Chavez told state television that the four banks shut down by his government were run by “criminals.”

There have been a string of nationalization measures by the socialist president since 2007 imapcting key strategic industries, including electric utilities, cement, steel, oil services and banking.

More than 70 percent of the Venezuelan banking sector is privately owned but the state has recently become the main financial actor, having nationalized in May, Banco de Venezuela, the country’s third-largest bank and previously under the ownership of Spanish group, Santander.

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