3 Aug 2010 10:35

Medvedev orders inquiry into conflict between Norilsk Nickel shareholders

MOSCOW. Aug 3 (Interfax) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the Prosecutor General's Office to investigate a conflict between stockholders of MMC Norilsk Nickel following a letter from Rusal head Oleg Deripaska, who also holds a stake in Norilsk Nickel, a Kremlin source told journalists on Tuesday.

"The head of state has instructed the Prosecutor General's Office to carry out an inquiry. It is still unclear whether any violations have been committed. What each side says is partly true. But it is a large enterprise, and the presence of such a serious conflict between its shareholders is not good," the source said.

Theoretically, the purchase of the company's shares by a third party would be the most optimal way out of this situation, but this buyer should not be the Russian government, including the Rostekhnologii (Russian Technologies) state-controlled corporation, he said.

"Norilsk Nickel is a privately owned enterprise and it should stay like that in the future. The company should belong to private owners," the source said.

On Monday, the members of the Rusal board of directors forwarded a letter to the board of directors of Norilsk Nickel, demanding the appointment of an independent auditor to verify the results of the vote held at the shareholders' annual meeting, as well as measures to prevent a possible buy-back of Norilsk Nickel shares.