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Russia’s FAS Keeps Case Against Telenor Ownership in VimpelCom

Russia’s Anti-Monopoly Service said it’s not ready to withdraw its case against Telenor ASA (TEL), the Nordic company that increased its stake in VimpelCom Ltd. (VIP)

Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s Altimo, which owns a 40.5 percent stake in VimpelCom, had complained to the Russian regulator, known as FAS, after Telenor bought 11.3 percent of the world’s sixth-biggest mobile phone provider from Weather Investments II in February, initiating the dispute.

Altimo boosted its stake in VimpelCom this week as it seeks to reach the same level of ownership as Telenor, which has 43 percent of the voting rights, Altimo Vice President Evgeny Dumalkin said by phone on Aug. 15. The transaction will put an end to the ownership dispute, Telenor said.

“As for the withdrawal of the claim, we believe it’s too early to talk about it,” Ekaterina Zubova, spokeswoman at FAS, said by e-mail from Moscow today. The FAS is “satisfied” with its talks with Telenor, as well as with its talks with Altimo, she wrote in the e-mail.

To contact the reporter on this story: Halia Pavliva in New York at hpavliva@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tal Barak Harif at tbarak@bloomberg.net

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