Russian Bank Denies $12bn 'Mistake' Loan To CAR

Russian bank VTB has said a "technical mistake" was behind its October financial report listing a $12bn (£9bn) loan to the Central African Republic (CAR).

The amount is more than six times CAR's annual economic output.

The bank said in a statement that it had no operations in CAR, and "a technical mistake with coding countries" was behind the listing of the loan in the quarterly VTB financial report released by Russia's central bank.

VTB said that no money was transferred to CAR and the loan did not exist.

CAR government spokesman Ange Maxime Kazagui denied knowledge of the loan and said any suggestion that the money was received "doesn’t sound credible because $11bn is beyond the debt capacity of CAR.”

“We are members of the IMF [International Monetary Fund]. When a member of the IMF wants to take on debt ... it has to discuss that with the IMF," he added.

Russia has built up security and business ties with CAR in the last few years.

The former French colony of 4.6 million people has been riven by internal conflict since it got independence from France in 1960.