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MILAN, May 26 (Reuters) - Struggling Italian lender Banca Popolare di Vicenza has asked an investment fund backed by the country's healthier banks to come to its rescue by injecting funds to help cover a capital shortfall as required by the European Commission.
Popolare di Vicenza and another regional lender in need of additional capital, Veneto Banca, have requested state aid to fill a capital gap of 6.4 billion euros ($7.16 billion).
But the commission has told the two banks they must find an additional 1 billion euros in private capital before it will allow the Italian government to offer state aid.
Popolare di Vicenza's board said in a statement on Friday it had asked its chief executive "to verify the position" of bank bailout fund Atlante, which is financed by Italian financial institutions. The fund already rescued the two Veneto-based banks last year but they have since suffered further losses. ($1 = 0.8945 euros) (Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Mark Bendeich)