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Sunday, September 20, 1998 Published at 00:00 GMT 01:00 UK

World: Americas

Uruguay takes over Moonie bank

The banking authorities in Uruguay have taken temporary control of a bank owned by the religious sect known as the Moonies the Unification Church of the Reverend Sung Myung Moon.

The Uruguay Central Bank ordered the takeover of the Banco de Credito, which is believed to have debts of one-hundred million dollars, saying it was necessary to resolve the bank's liquidity problems and to safeguard the Uruguayan banking system.

The bank is one of the biggest in the country, employing some four hundred and eighty people.

The Moonies began to invest in Uruguay in the nineteen eighties, and also own a newspaper and a luxury hotel.

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