RIGA - Oleg Boiko, a billionaire with interests in Russia's metal industry, has consolidated indirect control over 50 percent of Latvia's Baltijas Tranzitu Banka (Baltic Transit Bank).
The Finance and Capital Markets Commission said it had no objections to the Russian citizen gaining majority control over the country's 11th largest financial institution by assets.
According to the commission, Boiko owns Finstar Baltic Investments, a Latvia-registered company that planned to acquire 50 percent of BTB. The commission stated that it had no knowledge about what size stake Finstar intended to buy in BTB but had no objections if it decided to purchase 100 percent of the bank.
Currently Boiko directly and indirectly controls more than 8 percent of BTB, while Finstar Financial Group, former owner of Finstar Baltic Investments, owns 6.1 percent in the bank.
According to Finance and Capital Market Commission's Deputy Chairman Janis Brazovskis, Boiko is involved in Russia's lucrative metals industry and holds assets of about $1.5 billion.
Boiko's business partner and co-owner of Finstar, Dmitry Zelenin, is a Russian state official, according to the Baltic News Service.
The largest shareholders of BTB, which has paid capital of 8.6 million lats (13.1 million euros), include Switzerland-registered Korowo Trust, Cayman Island's United Gulf Investments and Latvia's Capital Development Corporation.
It wasn't clear which company was selling its stake, and BTB Chairman Edgars Dubra told Dienas Bizness that conditions of the deal were confidential but that after the planned transaction was completed Finstar Baltic Investments would own a controlling stake of the bank.
Also, after completion of the deal BTB will continue operating as a financial institution, Dubra added. Boiko, he said, could bring a significant increase to the bank's core capital and help the bank to begin a new stage of development.
The purchase of BTB by Russian capital continues the trend of eastern businessmen looking for a financial window to the European Union. Earlier this year individuals associated with Russian business interests bought a 25.01 percent stake in Latvijas Krajbanka, the country's seventh largest.
Russian capital is also present in Latvia Business Bank (Latvijas Biznesa Banka), which is almost fully owned by the Bank of Moscow, while Russia's MDM Bank is a shareholder of Latvia Trade Bank (Latvijas Tirdzniecibas Banka).