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French Government Ready To Rescue Bank

The government made final preparations Thursday on a long-awaited bailout plan for Credit Lyonnais, the state-owned bank saddled with losses of $10 billion and a tainted reputation.

The outline of the plan to be released today has circulated in the press for weeks, prompting criticism from rival banks fearful of unfair competition and from politicians worried that taxpayers’ money will be at stake.

The debacle has also become a liability for Premier Edouard Balladur, who has lost his once formidable lead in the presidential campaign partly because of corruption scandals in his administration.

Shares in the bank fell 6 percent Thursday to 263 francs ($52.60) in Paris, a day after a 7 percent fall.