Russian central bank seeks to reverse diamond deal

The Grib mine in Arkhangelsk Oblast. Credit: (Openholding.ru)

Russia’s central bank said on Monday it was seeking to reverse a $1.45 billion deal between Lukoil and Otkritie Holding as part of efforts to recover some state money spent on a bailout of Otkritie bank.

The central bank spent several trillion roubles in 2017 rescuing three private banking groups, including Otkritie bank. Earlier in 2017 Lukoil, Russia’s second-biggest oil company, sold its Arkhangelskgeoldobycha diamond mining business to Otkritie bank’s parent, Otkritie Holding, for $1.45 billion.

In 2017 Lukoil sold its Arkhangelskgeoldobycha diamond mining business to Otkritie bank’s parent for $1.45 billion

Lukoil and Otkritie Holding did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The central bank said the deal was co-financed by Otkritie bank and that Otkritie Holding, which was not part of the bailout, does not service the debt.

The central bank said contesting the deal would allow the state to reduce the funds spent on the Otkritie bank bailout.

Russia’s federal anti-monopoly regulator on Monday said that a lawsuit contesting the diamond deal had been filed in a regional court in Arkhangelsk in the north of Russia.

(By Vladimir Soldatkin, Tatiana Voronova, Elena Fabrichnaya and Olesya Astakhova; Editing by Katya Golubkova and David Goodman)

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