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Kasyanov Says Russia’s State Asset Sale Lacks Transparency

Former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said he’s concerned that the planned sale of stakes in state-controlled companies will be undermined by a lack transparency.

Kasyanov, who served as prime minister from 2000-2004 during Vladimir Putin’s presidency and is part of a pro-democracy opposition group, said the secrecy of the process casts doubt on the credibility of the offerings.

“I have always been in support of privatization, but having in mind that this government is not a transparent one, this privatization is going to be an imitation of the real process,” he said at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York last night. “It is not going to be done in a clear and transparent manner. The revenue is going to finance the budget deficit, but prices will raise a lot of questions.”

Russia’s government unveiled plans this week to sell stakes in the nation’s two largest lenders. The state may give up control of VTB Group within three years and plans to reduce its OAO Sberbank holding by 2014, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said Oct. 20.

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