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Kerimov Set to Challenge Asset Freeze in Dec. 14 Court Hearing

Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov’s challenge to a freeze on his assets, including stakes in mining company OAO Polyus Gold and fertilizer maker OAO Uralkali, will be heard next month in a Cyprus court.

The case, reviewed today, will be heard again on Dec. 14, George Triantafyllides, a lawyer for Kerimov’s companies, told reporters. The judge will hear testimony from both sides, and won’t make a final decision that day, he said.

A Sept. 17 order banned Cyprus-registered entities controlled by Kerimov from any transactions using shares in Uralkali and Polyus. The move followed 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.

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, portions of which are pledged for bank loans, are currently valued at $3.83 billion and $2.96 billion, respectively, Bloomberg calculations show.

To contact the reporters on this story: Stelios Orphanides in Nicosia at sorphanides@bloomberg.net; Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net.

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

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