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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

State Opens Probe Into Feud at Far East Shipper

The State Property Ministry is launching an investigation into the dispute between the foreign investors of the Vladivostok-based Far Eastern Shipping Co., or FESCO, and Primorye region Governor Yevgeny Nazdratenko, a top federal official said Wednesday.

Western investors say Nazdratenko is demanding that they give up 7 percent of their shares or face the arrest of Andrew Fox, the honorary British consul in Vladivostok whose company, Tiger Securities Vladivostok, manages stocks in FESCO for some foreign investors. The investors, who hold a 42 percent stake in the shipping giant, also say Nazdratenko wants his candidate appointed FESCO chairman.

"The government has set up a commission to investigate the conflict," Deputy State Property Minister Sergei Molozhavy said Wednesday at a briefing. "The commission is composed of our representatives and some from the Transport Ministry and they have left for Vladivostok today."

The announcement is the latest twist in a long-running feud over Russia's biggest shipping company.

On Monday, Nazdratenko told a news conference that he had asked the Federal Security Service to determine if Fox bought shares in FESCO legally.

Nazdratenko said Fox "only fulfills the wills of other states that want Russia not to have anything."

However, Fox said that he owns no shares in FESCO and Tiger Securities owns $20 worth. He and two Tiger employees represent foreign investors on the FESCO board, Fox said.