Vekselberg sells stake in Bank of Cyprus

Bank of Cyprus’s major stakeholder Viktor Vekselberg has sold his 9.3 per cent stake in the island’s largest lender, a source familiar with the matter said.

Details of the transaction such as the name of the buyer and price were unknown at the time of writing, as no announcement had yet been issued by the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) or the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Vekselberg, who participated in Bank of Cyprus’s capital increase in August 2014 and had expressed interest in further expanding his stake, was targeted last month with US sanctions.

After it emerged that the Cypriot government decided last year to offer him an honorary Cypriot citizenship, a spokesperson for Vekselberg, seen as an ally of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, said that he only had the Russian citizenship.

The share of the bank, which posted on Tuesday an after-tax profit of €43m for the first quarter compared to a net profit of €1m a year before, was trading at around €1.80 at the LSE, about one third of the price Vekselberg paid to participate in the bank’s capital increase in 2014.

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