Investors eye Multibanka

  • 2005-09-21
  • From wire reports
RIGA - A local daily reported last week that a Russian bank is eyeing Multibanka, a small Latvian financial institution that came under intense scrutiny earlier this year after being blacklisted by the United States Department of Treasury.

Severnij Morskoi Put' (Northern Sea Line), a Russian bank, was mentioned as a potential buyer of a controlling stake in Multibanka, the Russian language daily Bizness & Baltija reported last week.

The paper added, however, that officials from the Russian bank have not confirmed the information, though they did not deny it either.

Maija Treija, a Multibanka board member, also refused to comment, as did Vladimirs Solomatins, who owns a 19.68 percent stake in the bank.

Any change of ownership will have to be approved by the Finance and Capital Market Commission, which has not yet received any such request, Bizness & Baltija reported.

Northern Sea Line is the 108th largest financial institution in Russia, according to the paper, while Multibanka was 20th out of Latvia's 23 banks.

In August, Solomatins told the Baltic News Service that several Latvian and foreign banks had shown interest in acquiring Multibanka.

He said that Multibanka shareholders would decide on the bank's fate after the U.S. Treasury Department announced its final decision on allegations that Multibanka was lax in policing suspicious financial transactions through the bank. The bank denied the allegations.