Putin 1 - Dimon 0: JPMorgan Unhalts Russian Money Transfer
Russia's Binbank to take over Ukrainian
bank unit after 'political pressure'
(Reuters) - Russian lender Binbank said on Wednesday it could buy the Moscow subsidiary of Ukraine's Privatbank in two weeks from its Ukrainian owners who say they were under political pressure to sell.
Russia's central bank put Moskomprivatbank under temporary administration last month to prevent its bankruptcy, but some analysts said it was aimed at punishing Ukraine's new rulers for pursuing closer ties to the West. Moscow denies the charge.
Privatbank, Ukraine's largest bank, said its subsidiary had faced unwarranted political pressure, suggesting it was a victim of the standoff between Moscow and Kiev which resulted in Russia annexing Crimea.
Privatbank is part of Privat group, co-owned by Igor Kolomoisky, called "a unique imposter" by President Vladimir Putin last month when the businessman was appointed governor of Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk region.
Binbank's co-owner, Mikail Shishkanov, said the Ukrainian side would be happy with the deal.
"It is an absolutely friendly, normal business deal ... in any case the Ukrainian partners will be satisfied," he told journalists, adding the deal should be closed in two weeks.
He said Binbank, a medium-sized lender, would pay for the deal with cash and shares in property in Ukraine.
Privatbank said in a statement the Russian authorities had made it difficult to operate.
"Despite the unprecedented political pressure on Moskomprivatbank from the Russian authorities, effectively blocking bank checks and the unreasonable imposition of temporary administration, the bank continued to work and fulfilled all its obligations to customers," it said.
"We are emerging from a difficult situation with our heads held high despite the difficult political situation."
Ukraine's new rulers have accused Russia of moving to confiscate Ukrainian businesses in Russia to punish the new western direction of its government, installed after months of protests against pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovich.
But Binbank said Russia's Deposit Insurance Agency had ruled that Moskomprivatbank, Russia's 95th biggest by assets according to Interfax news agency data, did not have enough liquidity to cover its obligations and a "lack of a fully-fledged independent information infrastructure".
Last month, Moskomprivatbank, with assets of 50 billion rubles ($1.4 billion), had capital requirement ratios above the levels required by the Russian central bank to keep a banking license.
According to the central bank's data for January, the latest available, it had no violations of capital requirements.
It was not clear what had changed since then.
2 April 2014 Last updated at 06:14 ET
Ukraine far-right leader Sashko Bily 'shot himself'
A Ukrainian far-right leader accidentally shot and killed himself during a shoot-out with police last month, an investigation has concluded.
The inquiry by the interior ministry said Oleksandr Muzychko, aka Sashko Bily, had shot himself in the heart as police tried to wrestle him to the ground during the chase.
He was a member of the Right Sector - a key player in Ukraine's mass protests.
The group had threatened revenge for the death, blaming the police.
However, group members have so far made no public comments on the inquiry's findings.
The Right Sector played a prominent role in the Kiev protests - and the clashes with police - that led to the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych from power.
The results of the inquiry into the 24 March shoot-out in the western Rivne region were published on the interior ministry's official website.
The investigators determined that Mr Muzychko, 51, had shot twice as police were trying to arrest and handcuff him.
The first shot scratched his skin, they said, but the second proved fatal.
The policemen tried to treat him at the scene and called an ambulance.'Contract killing'
Earlier, one of the police officers was shot and injured by Mr Muzychko during the chase.
The inquiry concluded that the police had acted lawfully.
Right Sector activists have been furious over the death of Mr Myzuchko.
"We will avenge ourselves on [Interior Minister] Arsen Avakov for the death of our brother. The shooting of Sashko Bily is a contract killing ordered by the minister," member Roman Koval was quoted as saying by the Ukrayinska Pravda website after the shoot-out.
The minister has denied the allegation.
On 28 March, Right Sector activists blocked the parliament building in the capital Kiev and smashed windows.
The Right Sector's continued presence on the streets has complicated the work of Ukraine's new leaders, who have struggled to demonstrate they are fully in control after Russia's disputed annexation of Crimea and violent pro-Russian protests in eastern parts of the country, the BBC's David Stern in Kiev reports.
What is more, Right Sector has bolstered the Kremlin's seemingly exaggerated claims that "fascists" have taken over Ukraine's government and are roaming the capital's streets, threatening minorities and Russian-speakers, our correspondent adds.
However, the Right Sector has been trying to turn itself into a mainstream party.
Its leader Dmytro Yarosh has already been registered as a presidential candidate in 25 May elections.
EU lawmakers urge ‘Magnitsky list’ sanctions against Russia
Published time: April 02, 2014 22:47
The EU Parliament passed a resolution calling on the EU Council to introduce its own version of ‘Magnitsky list’ sanctions against Russia, which consists of 32 Russian individuals.
The list copies a 2012 US law intended to punish a number of Russian citizens believed to be linked to the death of Russian lawyer Sergey Magnitsky. Russia slammed the Magnitsky Act and responded with similar measures against US officials.
“The EU should deny visas to and freeze the EU assets of 32 Russian officials involved in the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, its judicial cover-up and the continuing harassment of his family,” the EU Parliament statement said on Wednesday.
The EU Parliament cited independent investigations which established that Magnitsky, who died in pre-trial detention in 2009, experienced "inhumane conditions, deliberate neglect and torture."
The resolution is advisory in nature and in order to have any weight it must be approved by the EU Council.
MEPs also added their concern that EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton neglected to include the issue on the Foreign Affairs Council agenda despite the European Parliament’s earlier request in October 2012.
The EU tried to pass a similar resolution back in 2012 and was criticized by Russia. Head of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, Aleksey Pushkov, told reporters back in October that the resolution threatened to undermine progress in Russia-EU relations and was the latest example of “anti-Russian activity” spearheaded by Magnitsky’s former employer, William Browder.
Before the arrest in November 2008, Magnitsky worked as a lawyer for the UK-based Hermitage Capital Management Fund. He was detained on charges of tax evasion and was facing trial in Russia on numerous corruption charges. The 37-year-old died several months later in a pre-trial detention center.
Two forensic evaluations showed that Magnitsky died of acute heart failure. Experts confirmed that he was suffering from heart problems, but that it was not at an acute stage.
His family and colleagues claim he was deliberately denied medical help. Two prison doctors have been charged with negligence during the ongoing investigation.
Magnitsky said the criminal case against him was retaliation for his testimony, in which he allged the involvement of law enforcement officials in the embezzlement of budget funds. The company he worked for announced after his death that the case against the lawyer was made up because he had uncovered a multi-million-dollar corruption scheme involving high-ranking state officials.