Court Freezes 2 Firms' Stakes in VimpelCom

Farimex Products, a British Virgin Islands-registered company, said Monday that a Siberian court had frozen stakes in VimpelCom belonging to Telenor East Invest and Altimo, the telecoms firm's largest shareholders.

The Omsk Appellate Arbitration Court prohibited all actions, direct or otherwise, directed toward the acquisition of the assets.

The decision comes as VimpelCom announced Monday that it had acquired a 49.9 percent stake in cell phone and accessories retailer Yevroset for around $226 million, Reuters reported.

Farimex, which owns 0.002 percent in VimpelCom, claimed that the two shareholders blocked the company's expansion into the Ukrainian mobile market through their representatives on VimpelCom's board of directors.

Telenor owns 29.9 percent of VimpelCom's voting stock, while Altimo controls 32.9 percent.

Altimo, Alfa Group's telecoms arm, said it could not comment on the decision Monday.

The Khanty-Mansiysk Arbitration Court issued a ruling on Farimex's claim in August and ordered Telenor to pay VimpelCom $2.8 billion. Alto was absolved of responsibility.

Farimex said the latest court order would prevent Altimo and Telenor from disposing of VimpelCom's shares until a settlement is reached on the August court decision.