Sunday, 10 April 2011

Battling banks and toppling towers

Two of Russia’s biggest banks are trading verbal blows as VTB and Bank of Moscow squabble over a takeover deal.

The apparent flight of BOM boss Andrei Borodin to London, ostensibly for health reasons, prompted a stinging attack on his organisation from VTB’s Andrei Kostin.

Kostin slammed the lack of transparency in the bank’s books as investigators pursued their inquiries over a $440 million loan made to Inteko chief Elena Baturina, wife of former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov. And former VTB official Mikhail Kuzovlev was the first to benefit from the spat, returning to his post as BOM vice president barely two weeks after he was sacked.

Bank of Moscow is being sold off by the city’s government, with VTB acquiring almost half the shares in the institution. But small shareholders, including Borodin, have been accused of preventing Russia’s second largest bank from completing a takeover.

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