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EU approves plan to wind down Austrian bank Hypo

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- The European Commission says it has approved a plan under which the viable parts of nationalized Austrian bank Hypo Group Alpe Adria will be sold and the rest of its operations will be wound down.

Commissioner for competition Joaquin Almunia said Tuesday the decision would "restore a level playing field" and minimize the cost to taxpayers as much as possible.

HGAA began receiving aid from the Austrian government in 2008, and eventually received aid and guarantees worth well over 4 billion euros ($5 billion) before it was fully nationalized.

The commission approved the May sale of HGAA's core Austrian operations to Anadi Financial Holdings for 65.5 million euros ($86.5 million).

Its operations in Southeastern Europe must be sold by June 2015, the Commission said.