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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Aven and Fridman are prepared to divest their stakes in Alfa-Bank in light of the imposed sanctions.

Billionaires Pyotr Aven and Mikhail Fridman are ready to sell their shares of Alfa-Bank to their business partner Andrei Kosogov in order to obtain the lifting of the sanctions imposed on them. On this subject informed Financial Times (FT), citing sources familiar with the matter.

According to them, Kosogov is ready to spend 178 billion rubles ($2.3 billion) on the purchase. He himself confirmed to the FT that the sale and purchase of Fridman and Aven’s shares had been agreed, but he declined to give further comment – as well as his two alleged counterparties.

Petr Aven owns 12.4% of Alfa-Bank, Mikhail Fridman – 32.9%. Thus, in total, the shares of the two billionaires exceed 45%. The businessmen have formalized ownership through the Luxembourg holding company ABH Holdings, which controls the bank’s Cypriot “mother” company.

By assessment a Forbes source close to Alfa-Bank shareholders, this could create serious obstacles to the transaction, since the shares of the bank holding company owned by Fridman and Aven are frozen under sanctions, and special authorization from the European Commission will be necessary for their sale.

Friedman and Aven were subject to sanctions by the European Union and the United Kingdom in 2022. At the same time, restrictive measures were introduced against their partners, Alexei Kuzmichev and German Khan, who then transferred their shares in ABH Holdings in Kosogov. As a result, he became the owner of 41% of Alfa-Bank.

At the end of February 2023, the European Union imposed a new round of sanctions against the Russian banking sector, and Alfa-Bank fell victim to these measures. The credit institution assured that the incident will not affect its work and will not affect customer service, however, already in early March, the Golden Crown system, which Russians actively use to transfer funds abroad , stopped accepting Alfa Bank cards for payment.

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