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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Aluminium Companies Sued for $2.7 b

NEW YORK - A group of metals trading firms Wednesday said they are suing two Russian aluminium companies for $2.7 billion, charging them with criminal acts including murder and extortion to gain control of a plant.

Base Metal Trading, SA, Base Metals Trading, Ltd., Alucoal, Ltd. are suing Russian Aluminium, Sibirsky Aluminium and "key controlling individuals" Oleg Deripaska and Mikhail Chernoi, the group said in a statement after filing the suit in a U.S. District Court in New York.

The group alleges that the Russian companies and their executives perpetrated criminal acts in the U.S. to help them gain control of the Russian aluminium industry and of one aluminium plant in particular, the group alleges.

In Moscow, Russia's largest aluminium group Russky Alyuminy (Russian Aluminium) denied the allegations.

"They are falsifying facts and using trumped up accusations," Russky spokesman Vlad Vershinin said.

Sibirsky, Deripaska and Chernoi are now part of Russian Aluminium, which controls more than 70 percent of Russia's primary aluminium, the group said.

The group filing the suit said the subjects of the suit in some cases acted in concert with the Russian-American Mafia after they failed to legally buy the Novokuznetz Aluminum plant.

"Criminal elements have besieged Russian industry with illegal payoffs, threats and acts of violence," Robert Abrams, the group's attorney, said in the statement accompanying the suit.

Novokuznetsk, Russia's fifth largest producer of primary aluminium, has been declared bankrupt and put under external management. Russky Alyuminy assumed control of Novokuznetsk's raw material supplies and sales of processed products.

Russky Alyuminy, which controls more than 70 percent of Russia's primary aluminium output, was formed last April by Sibirsky Aluminium Group and shareholders in Sibneft oil company.

Deripaska is Russky's chief executive and also owner of 70 percent of Russky Alyuminy. Chernoi said in a recent newspaper interview that he also had a stake in Russky.