Russian arms group fights French bank bid over secrets

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Russian arms dealers can prevent the the French bank from taking control of Rosbank

MOSCOW, Dec 7, 2007 - The new Russian company in charge of arms
exports, Rostekhnologuii, wants to prevent French bank Societe Generale from
controlling Rosbank to protect its secret accounts, a press report said here
on Friday.
"Russian arms dealers can prevent the the French bank from taking control
of Rosbank," the business newspaper Vedomosti said in a front-page story,
quoting a shareholder in Rosbank.
The bank is one of the biggest in Russia, ranking tenth in terms of assets.
The powerful head of the arms export agency Rosoboronexport, Sergei
Chemezov, who was appointed recently to head Rostekhnologuii, which now
oversees the agency, said recently that he oposed the bid, the newspaper
Societe General, a leading French bank, already owns "20.0 percent minus
one share" of Rosbank and said on July 2 that it wanted to exercise an option
to control 50.0 percent of Rosbank, the report said.
It wants to buy the additional shares from a Russian holding company called
Interros, which owns 69.9 percent of Rosbank.
Rosoboronexport said that it had no comment on the report and Interros said
that if wanted to "respect strictly" its agreement with Societe Generale and
sell it 30 percent plus one share of Rosbank as planned.
But the newspaper quoted a source within Rosbank as confirming the
difficulties raised by the state arms group. "They have expressed concern that
Societe Generale could have access to state secrets," the source was quoted as


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