Sale of city stake in Bank of Moscow to VTB through CFC challenged in court

Interfax

The transactions involving the transfer of the Russian capital’s stake in Bank of Moscow (RTS: MMBM) to OJSC Central Fuel Company and its subsequent sale to state bank VTB (RTS: VTBR) are being challenged in court.

VTB became aware of the lawsuit in July, and a preliminary hearing of the case is scheduled for August 20, VTB said in a memorandum for its upcoming offering of perpetual bonds, obtained by Interfax. VTB said it intends to resolutely defend its interests.

The lawsuit challenging the transactions was filed with the Moscow Arbitration Court on May 5 by Sergei Devyatov, and proceedings were initiated on July 3. The substance of the claims is not disclosed in public court documents. The defendants in the case are VTB, the Moscow Property Department and CFC.

The Moscow city government, which owned 46.48% of Bank of Moscow directly and another 4.33% through Stolichnaya Insurance Group, transferred these shares to CFC in order to sell them to VTB. This made it possible to sell the shares to VTB, which city officials said was the only realistic candidate to take over Bank of Moscow, without a tender.

These transactions were already challenged in court earlier. The little known firm LLC EkoTekhnologia filed a lawsuit in February 2011, but it was dismissed and the company did not file an appeal.

Following the deal with the city, VTB continued to acquire shares in Bank of Moscow and now owns almost 95%.

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