Russia to sell telecom shares

June 8, 2009

, MOSCOW, June  8 – Russian bailiffs said Monday they had prepared the sale on the stock market of a 26.6-percent stake in telecoms group Vimpelcom held by Norway\’s Telenor, a fresh twist in a bitter legal dispute.

"All the documents are ready for the sale of 15,337,854 ordinary shares in Vimpelcom that were seized on March 11 by a court order," a spokesman for Russia\’s bailiff service was quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

The shares "will be sold soon by stock market agents," the spokesman said.
The share being sold is fractionally smaller than the total 29.9-percent stake in Vimpelcom held by Telenor, which has been seized in a case that has drawn attention to business conditions for foreign investors in Russia.

The court order came after Telenor refused to pay a Vimpelcom minority shareholder, Farimex Products, 1.7 billion dollars (1.2 billion euros) for alleged losses from a delay in Vimpelcom\’s takeover of Ukrainian Radio Systems.

Telenor opposed the deal with Ukrainian Radio Systems and has argued that the legal procedures are part of a bid by Russia\’s Alfa Group, which holds a 44-percent stake in Vimpelcom, to increase its share.

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