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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Westerners Nominated to Audit Central Bank

In a compromise with the Central Bank, the State Duma budget committee on Thursday included two foreign companies in its list of nominees to audit the bank's records.

Russian company Unicon won the first nomination, followed by Coopers & Lybrand and Arthur Andersen.

The Duma will probably approve one of the foreign companies when it votes on the nominations next week, committee member Grigory Luntovsky said.

Central Bank chairman Viktor Gerashchenko asked the Duma, the lower house of parliament, last October to annul a tender giving Unicon the job and instead pick a Western auditor. He argued that an audit by a foreign company will improve the bank's standing with international lenders.

Since the bank chief made the request, the budget committee has renominated Unicon three times.

"I think that the Duma has made up its mind about Unicon," Luntovsky said. "One can't give a 100 percent guarantee, but it is likely that it will be either Coopers & Lybrand or Arthur Andersen."

Gerashchenko has made no secret of favoring Coopers & Lybrand over the other foreign auditors, saying the company has audited such respectable organizations as the Bank of England, the German Bundesbank and the IMF.

The committee "has taken the Central Bank's opinion into account," Luntovsky said. "If they think [such an appointment will help], then why not," he added.