CORRECTED-Russian central bank seeks to reverse Lukoil’s $1.45 bln Otkritie diamond deal

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FILE PHOTO: A gas torch is seen next to the Lukoil company sign at the Filanovskogo oil platform in the Caspian Sea, Russia October 16, 2018. Picture taken October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank said on Monday it was seeking to reverse a $1.45 billion deal between Lukoil (LKOH.MM) and Otkritie Holding as part of efforts to recover some state money spent on a bailout of Otkritie bank.

The central bank spent several trillion roubles in 2017 rescuing three private banking groups, including Otkritie bank. Earlier in 2017 Lukoil (LKOH.MM), Russia’s second biggest oil company, sold its Arkhangelskgeoldobycha diamond-mining business to Otkritie bank’s parent, Otkritie Holding, for $1.45 billion.

Lukoil and Otkritie Holding did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for a comment.

The central bank said the deal was co-financed by Otkritie bank and that Otkritie Holding, which was not part of the bailout, does not service the debt.

The central bank said contesting the deal would allow the state to reduce the funds spent on the Otkritie bank bailout.

Russia’s federal anti-monopoly regulator on Monday said that a lawsuit contesting the diamond deal had been filed in a regional court in Arkhangelsk in the north of Russia.

(This story corrects fourth paragraph to show that Otkritie Holding does not service the debt)

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Tatiana Voronova, Elena Fabrichnaya and Olesya Astakhova; Editing by Katya Golubkova and David Goodman

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