(Corrects first and second paragraph with comment by a spokesperson of Vekselberg and adds additional background)
By Stelios Orphanides
The 9.3 per cent stake in Bank of Cyprus of major stakeholder Viktor Vekselberg was transferred to a UBS account as part of an intra-bank transaction, a spokesperson said.
The stake of the Russian investor who had participated in the bank’s August 2014 capital increase was transferred from an omnibus account at BNP London to a UBS client account in Zurich, his spokesperson said.
Details of this transaction had not been disclosed at the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) or the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
Vekselberg, seen as an ally of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, had expressed interest in further expanding his stake in Cyprus’s largest bank and was targeted last month with US sanctions.
After it emerged that the Cypriot government decided last year to offer him an honorary Cypriot citizenship, his spokesperson said that he only had the Russian citizenship.
The share of the bank, which posted on Tuesday an after-tax profit of 43m for the first quarter compared to a net profit of €1m a year before, was trading at around €1.80 at the LSE, about one third of the price Vekselberg paid to participate in the bank’s capital increase in 2014.