Russian businessman asks Monaco to unfreeze accounts to transfer $1 b to Alfa-Bank Ukraine

21 October 2022, 01:00 PM
Mikhail Fridman, one of the Russian oligarchs who has a fortune in Ukraine (

Mikhail Fridman, one of the Russian oligarchs who has a fortune in Ukraine (

Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman has asked Monaco authorities to allow him to "bring" $1 billion to Alfa-Bank Ukraine, Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported, with reference to the chairman of the supervisory board of the bank, Roman Shpek.

Fridman, a sanctioned Russian billionaire, sent a letter to the regulatory authorities of the Principality of Monaco with the request to authorize a partial unfreezing of funds on his accounts in Monaco.

“I believe that the bank will be able to implement the project of additional capitalization," Shpek said, saying that this was a “tricky task,” but that it is underway.

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Shpek himself is now in Brussels, where the development of a mechanism for unfreezing, additional capitalization and a system of control over the targeted use of funds is said to be being devised.

Earlier, Fridman wrote a letter to the new governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, Andriy Pyshnyy and confirmed his readiness to recapitalize the bank by $1 billion. In the same letter, the bank's shareholders noted their willingness to donate the bank's shares to the state or another shareholder.

As previously reported, Alfa-Bank may be recapitalized in the form of a "perpetual obligation” – a loan with no maturity date that pays a perpetual stream of interest.

Earlier, Alfa-Bank assured that the plan for the additional capitalization of $1 billion was not for the personal benefit of one of the bank's main shareholders, Fridman.

In early September, The Wall Street Journal wrote that Fridman wants to "inject" $1 billion into Ukrainian Alfa-Bank, hoping for the lifting of sanctions.

In an interview with Forbes Ukraine, the head of the Servant of the People faction, David Arakhamia, also mentioned the plans to recapitalize the bank for this amount.

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada on Oct. 6 adopted a law on the peculiarities of withdrawing a systemically important bank from the market under martial law, which provides for nationalization without additional capitalization by the state.

According to the central bank definition, there are currently 14 systemically important banks in the country, but experts suggest that it is Alfa-Bank Ukraine that is most relevant in the case of the new law.

According to the NBU, as of Sept. 1, 2022, Alfa-Bank Ukraine ranked 7th ($3 billion) among the 67 banks operating in the country in terms of total assets.

According to the financial institution, its largest shareholders are currently indirectly Andriy Kosohov (40.96% – after the war, he took over the packages of German Khan and Alexei Kuzmichev, who fell under sanctions), Mikhail Fridman (32.86%) and Petr Aven (12.4%), as well as UniCredit SpA (Italy, 9.9%) and the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research (3.87%).

Bulgarian ex-minister of finance, executive director of the Financial Markets Group of the London School of Economics and technical adviser to the European Commission Simeon Djankov, by agreement with the NBU, is a trustee of the central bank for the Kosogov, Fridman and Aven stakes, which also fell under sanctions.

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