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Metalloinvest, one of Russia's largest mining and metals companies,
Metalloinvest, one of Russia's largest mining and metals companies, may get a new shareholder, with fugitive Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky claiming 5% of its stock, a business paper said on Thursday.

Berezovsky, 63, who is currently a political exile in Britain, filed a lawsuit with London's High Court on February 18 against Vasily Anisimov and his company Coalco, which holds 20% in Metalloinvest, and the heirs of his deceased business partner Badri Patarkatsishvili, Vedomosti said.

The fugitive tycoon confirmed that he had filed the lawsuit with the aim of confirming his rights to 5% of Metalloinvest's shares (the metals giant is currently 50% owned by Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov while Andrei Skotch holds 30% and Anisimov 20%).

He also claims that he and Patarkatsishvili transferred about $500 million received from the sale of a 25% stake in aluminum giant RusAl to the accounts of the companies controlled by Anisimov to finance the purchase of the Mikhailovsky ore mining and smelting plant, the paper said.

Overall, Usmanov and Anisimov acquired 97% of the plant's shares for $1.65 billion in 2005, the paper said.

The shares of the Mikhailovsky plant did not belong to Berezovsky or Patarkatsishvili as their interests were represented by Anisimov, but the parties agreed that after asset consolidation by Metalloinvest (this consolidation occurred in 2006), both he and Patarkatsishvili would each get 5% of the holding, the paper said.

Berezovsky said that neither he nor Patarkatsishvili had earlier claimed the shareholdings in Metalloinvest as this business was run by his deceased business partner, the paper said.

According to Vedomosti, Berezovsky has filed over a dozen lawsuits with London's High Court in the past few years, in particular, claiming money from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who allegedly underpaid him for the sale of shares in the Public Television ORT, oil company Sibneft and RusAl.

Over a dozen criminal probes have been launched in Russia against Berezovsky, a one-time close associate of late president Boris Yeltsin, including plotting to stage a coup and embezzling $13 million from a leading Russian bank.


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