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Dutch parliament slams government over bank rescue

Dutch parliament criticizes former Cabinet, central bank officials in Fortis-ABN Amro bailout

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- A Dutch parliamentary commission has criticized the previous government for paying too much to rescue the bank ABN Amro and its then-owner, the defunct Belgian group Fortis, in 2008.

The report from the commission appointed to investigate the deal was sent to parliament Wednesday. It found the government should have paid no more than €16 billion ($22 billion) to save the Dutch banking operations of ABN-Fortis. It paid €16.8 billion and as the financial crisis worsened, the nationalization eventually cost state coffers €32 billion.

The commission conceded the looming Fortis bankruptcy would have caused "large damage to the Dutch, European and world economy..(but) that can't justify unlimited spending of taxpayers' money," it said.

It also criticized the central bank's oversight.

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