A London Court which on Thursday froze Goldman Sachs' 3.9% stake in Bank of Moscow, preventing a bid by Russia's second largest bank VTB to gain control of the Moscow government's lender, released the stake but then froze it again following an appeal, a source close to the situation told RIA Novosti on Friday.
"The court has ruled in a favor of Goldman Sachs, but the firms which have demanded seizure of the shares have filed an appeal, which will be considered in a week. Thus the seizure is still in force," the source said.
Bank of Moscow and VTB officials declined to comment.
In February, VTB approved a gradual acquisition of 100% of shares in Bank of Moscow. The state-controlled lender started its takeover bid with the purchase of a 46.48% stake held by the Moscow government and a blocking interest in Stolichnaya Insurance Group, which owned 17.3% of the Moscow bank.
Bank of Moscow President Andrei Borodin was unwilling to cede control of the bank but VTB found a way around his objections. The sale of the Moscow government's stake relieved Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, holding 3.88% and 2.77% respectively, of the need to obtain permission from Borodin to sell their shareholdings.
Goldman Sachs' share would have increased VTB's stake in Bank of Moscow to a controlling interest and the investment bank agreed to sell it for 7.1 billion rubles ($247 million). However, a company close to Borodin filed a complaint with the London court, following which Goldman Sachs' stake was seized.
Shareholder agreements imposed certain restrictions on Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse on the resale of their stakes in Bank of Moscow. In particular, Goldman Sachs had an obligation initially to offer its shares to Bank of Moscow, if the investment bank decided to sell them.
MOSCOW, March 4 (RIA Novosti)