Bloomberg News

Yevtushenkov's Sistema Denies Buying UralSib Stake

February 07, 2008

AFK Sistema (AFKS), holding company for Russian billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov, denied offering to buy shares of Bank UralSib.

Russia's financial regulator, the Federal Financial Markets Service, said on its Web site earlier today that Moscow-based Sistema was seeking to buy shares in Bank UralSib that it doesn't already own. The watchdog pulled the statement at about 1:50 p.m. and issued a second statement around 3 p.m. saying it will probe a ``technical glitch'' and possible price manipulation.

``We are not buying it. It is a clear mistake,'' Sistema Chief Executive Office Alexander Goncharuk said in an interview today. The company doesn't own shares in UralSib and isn't holding talks to acquire them, he said.

UralSib, Russia's second-biggest private bank, isn't planning ``any deals with either AFK Sistema or any other Russian or foreign institution,'' said Alexander Vikhrov, the bank's executive director, in an interview today.

Sistema controls OAO Mobile TeleSystems, the country's biggest cellular operator. It plans to borrow about $10 billion this year to fund expansion, including units not related to telecommunications, Yevtushenkov said in an interview in Davos, Switzerland last month. Sistema may buy two or three banks this year and eventually create one of the country's 10 biggest financial groups, Yevtushenkov said at the time without elaborating.

Sistema's banking assets include the Moscow Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Khabarovsk, Russia-based Dalcombank, which it acquired this week.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lyubov Pronina in Moscow at lpronina@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Klemming at at lklemming@bloomberg.net


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