The Pension Benefits Guaranty Corp. has denied reports that its actions caused Hardwick Clothes to file for bankruptcy.

"Recent press reports suggest that our actions pushed Hardwick into bankruptcy," said Sanford Rich, the PBGC's chief of negotiations and restructuring, in a statement. "This isn't true. We provide a safety net for the country's privately run pensions, and we provided that service to Hardwick."

Hardwick, the nation's oldest privately owned clothing manufacturer, said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month because the PBGC had demanded it replenish its underfunded pension system by paying $7.3 million. If it failed to do so, the PBGC had threatened to place a lien against the company.

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