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Shareholders at a Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel on Friday elected
Shareholders at a Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel on Friday elected their expanded 13-member board, which will be chaired by former Russian presidential chief of staff Alexander Voloshin.

Voloshin said after the meeting that he would not be a government representative on the board, a condition previously agreed with shareholders.

"Of course, government interests are something I used to share for a long time when I was linked to the government, but currently, I am working for the company," Voloshin said.

Voloshin had been nominated to the board by both aluminum giant RusAl, which holds 25% plus two shares in Norilsk Nickel, and Interros, owned by Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin, which holds some 30% in Norilsk Nickel.

Rival billionaire shareholders in Norilsk Nickel - Potanin and RusAl owner Oleg Deripaska - announced in late November they had managed to resolve all disputed issues through negotiations.

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, Norilsk Nickel general director, will be joined on the board by four directors from each of RusAl and Interros, three independent members, including Gerard Holden, head of mining and metals at Barclays Capital, and Brad Mills, CEO of platinum producer Lonmin PLC, as well as a government representative.

The inclusion of a government representative was one of the terms under which state-controlled Vnesheconombank agreed to grant RusAl a $4.5 billion loan to refinance its debt to a consortium of Western banks accumulated as a result of purchasing the stake in Norilsk Nickel.

Norilsk Nickel is Russia's largest diversified mining and metals company, the world's largest producer of nickel and palladium, and one of the world's largest producers of platinum, rhodium, copper and cobalt.

Onexim Group President Mikhail Prokhorov said his failure to be elected onto the Norilsk Nickel board was an outrageous violation of a deal with shareholder UC RusAl.

"I consider it a gross violation of an agreement signed between Onexim Group and UC RusAl, which secures one seat on the Norilsk Nickel board for a group representative," Prokhorov said.

"We have enough rights and authority to protect our interests in line with the agreement," he added.


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