June 11, 2008 / 5:28 AM / 10 years ago

Russian tycoon buy stakes in Western banks-paper

MOSCOW, June 11 (Reuters) - Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov is buying shares in major Western banks and wants other tycoons to join him, Kommersant business daily reported on Wednesday quoting sources.

Kommersant said Kerimov has been selling his Russian assets, which include stakes in the country’s biggest bank Sberbank SBER03.MM and gas giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM), to buy stakes in Deutsche (DBKGn.DE), UBS UBSN.VX, Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Credit Suisse CSGN.VX.

One source in a major investment bank told Kommersant that Kerimov, Russia’s 8th richest man and a member of the upper house of the Russian parliament, owned 3 percent of Deutsche in the end of last year.

“Kerimov now continues to increase his stake in Deutsche Bank and plans to take it to 9 percent,” a source familiar with Kerimov’s plans told Kommersant. Other sources said Kerimov’s holdings in other banks amount to about 1 percent.

Kommersant sources said Kerimov is discussing plans to buy stakes in Western banks with other tycoons and wants to bring them onboard. Top Russian officials recently called on businessmen to buy cheap Western assets.

Oil-rich Russia does not yet have its own sovereign wealth fund capable of large-scale private equity investment. However, tycoons who made fortunes during hasty privatisations in the 90s, often act with Kremlin’s blessing. (Writing by Gleb Bryanski; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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