Cyprus Maintains Freeze on Billionaire Kerimov's Stock in Polyus, Uralkali

A Cyprus court maintained a freeze on Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov’s assets, including stakes in mining company OAO Polyus Gold and fertilizer maker OAO Uralkali.

The case, reviewed today, will be heard again on Nov. 17, Nicosia District Court President Michalis Christodoulou said at the court. A Sept. 17 order already banned Cyprus-registered entities controlled by Kerimov from any transactions using shares in Uralkali and Polyus.

The move follows a complaint against Kerimov by Ashot Egiazaryan, a member of Russia’s lower house of parliament, who claims Kerimov forced him to relinquish 25.5 percent of the Moskva hotel near Moscow’s Red Square. Egiazaryan filed a request for $2 billion in damages at the London Court of International Arbitration on Sept. 13, according to court documents in Cyprus.

A lawyer for Kerimov, Michael Stepek at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Geneva, would only say he was aware of the Cypriot injunction.

Soteris Flourentzos and George Triantafyllides, lawyers who represent five of Kerimov’s companies affected by the injunction, had appealed against the Sept. 17 order.

Those five companies have been officially notified of the court’s latest ruling, Andreas Chaviaras, Egiazaryan’s lawyer, said today. “We have indications that also the remaining companies have been notified,” he said.

Polyus Gold dropped 0.4 percent to 1,376.08 rubles at the 6:45 p.m. close of trade on Moscow’s Micex exchange. Uralkali rose 0.4 percent to 137.75 rubles.

Kerimov, ranked by Finans magazine as Russia’s fourth- richest man with a fortune of $14.5 billion, owns 37 percent of Polyus, according to a July 2009 company filing, and 25 percent of Uralkali. The stakes, of which part are pledged for bank loans, are worth $3.4 billion and $2.4 billion, respectively, Bloomberg calculations show.

To contact the reporters on this story: Stelios Orphanides in Athens at sorphanides@bloomberg.net; Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at ikhrennikov@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amanda Jordan at ajordan11@bloomberg.net.

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