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Lithuania Delays EU Transaction Tax on Nordic Banks’ Concern

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Lithuania postponed plans to adopt a European Union financial-transaction tax, saying Nordic lenders with local subsidiaries in the Baltic nation question the move.

“We’ve decided to delay the decision to examine the many questions raised about what will be taxed and how it will affect the local units of foreign banks,” Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said today in Vilnius, the capital. “I’ll be traveling to Sweden to meet with banks’ top management.”

Butkevicius had said Dec. 14, the day after he took office, that Lithuania would this month become the 12th country to approve plans for the tax.

EU Tax Commissioner Algirdas Semeta, a former Lithuanian finance minister, backs creating a levy for willing EU nations to make the common market stronger and fairer. Subsidiaries of Stockholm-based SEB AB, Swedbank AB and Nordea Bank AB controlled 65 percent of Lithuanian banking assets at the end of September, while units of Norway’s DNB ASA and Denmark’s Danske Bank A/S held another 21 percent.

Eleven countries, including Germany, France, Italy and Estonia are in talks about cooperation on introducing the tax. The levy risks curbing Baltic liquidity, Nasdaq OMX Group’s vice president for the region, Arminta Saladziene, said Dec. 6 in an interview.

The date for Butkevicius’s trip to Stockholm would not be clear before the end of next week, his spokeswoman, Evelina Butkute, said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bryan Bradley in Vilnius at bbradley13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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