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Report: Metkombank owner eyes bigger stake in IFC Bank

Cyprus-basedcompany Winterlux Ltd., controlled by Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg,asked Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service for preliminary consent to acquirea 19.7% stake in JSC JSCBInternational Financial Club, Vedomostireported July 6.

Ifthe transaction takes place, Vekselberg, who also , could increase his holdingin IFC to 39.4%, becoming its main shareholder. The name of the seller was notdisclosed in the application filed with the competition authority. However, amarket source told the newspaper that the 19.71% stake is being sold byONEXIM Group, throughwhich businessman Mikhail Prokhorov, the main shareholder of the bank, manageshis assets. Thelender said July 7 that ONEXIM does not plan to sell its stake, however.

Meanwhile,Kommersant reported July 8 that the19.7% stake is being sold by Alexander Abramov, another shareholder of the bank.

Vedomosti reported July 4 that ONEXIMGroup has been negotiating the sale of all its Russian assets. ONEXIM later denied this,however.