Belgian bank KBC has asked for trading in its shares to be suspended. The move came as several Belgian newspapers reported that the country's authorities were working on a rescue deal.

The group, which has already received two injections of taxpayers' money, said in a statement that the the request had been made after 'several wild rumours circulated the market' on Tuesday.

The bank, which owns KBC in Ireland, said it would not comment on the rumours until it released its first quarter results as scheduled on Thursday morning.

The group, which has big operations in eastern Europe, has received €3.5 billion in public cash last October as the financial crisis raged across Europe. At the end of January, the regional Flemish government provided a further €2 billion with an option for another €1.5 billion.