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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chubais: UES Restructuring to Proceed

Legislation to govern the restructuring of the power sector will be submitted to the State Duma in the coming fall, Unified Energy Systems head Anatoly Chubais said Monday.

"I'm happy with the government's position regarding this issue," Chubais said in remarks reported by Prime-Tass. The restructuring will take five to six years if the government approves the version drafted by UES, he added.

The power grid operator has raised the hackles of minority investors with its restructuring plans, which call for the company's power-generating businesses to be spun off separately, leaving UES as a power distribution enterprise.

Minority shareholders holding 15 percent of UES turned to President Vladimir Putin earlier this month, writing him an open letter asking for the UES plan to be revised.

However, the company has decided it is not in a position to sacrifice the interests of the general population and strategic investors, earlier identified as local businesses, for the sake of a group of minority shareholders, UES deputy chairman Valentin Zavadnikov said Saturday.

Adding to the pressure on Chubais, Internet site APN, or Political News Agency, reported that he could soon be indicted by either Russian or Swiss authorities for misdeeds connected with the privatization of Norilsk Nickel.

As first deputy prime minister in charge of economic reforms, Chubais oversaw the privatization program under which a controlling stake in Norilsk Nickel, a multibillion-dollar company that controls about a quarter of the world's nickel production, was sold to Uneximbank for $170.1 million.

The Moscow city prosecutor's office last week filed suit to overturn the Norilsk Nickel sale over alleged irregularities in the privatization process.

Chubais f who was a strong supporter of Putin during both last December's State Duma elections and this year's presidential vote f has publicly criticized the Kremlin in recent weeks over its arrest of Media-MOST boss Vladimir Gusinsky.

However, after a meeting earlier this month over the restructuring program, Chubais told RTR television that he had strongly felt that Putin supported him in his efforts to make the electricity giant more efficient.