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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Abramovich Ready to Sell ORT Stake?

Roman Abramovich is set to sell his stake in ORT television to Sberbank, Vedomosti reported Monday.

The newspaper quoted two unidentified sources, one in the Kremlin and one close to the Chukotka governor, as saying the deal was all but done.

Structures close to Sibneft shareholders, of which Ab- ramovich is the largest, bought up 42.5 percent of Boris Berezovsky's 49 percent stake in ORT at the end of last year.

Abramovich has said from the beginning that he had no intention of taking over the station. And the many and frequent claims in the media that he had acquired the shares for the state were never denied.

"Abramovich made it clear from the very start that he was prepared to help us buy the shares from Berezovsky, but there was no more to it than that — the future financing of the station was not part of his plans," the Kremlin official was quoted as saying.

"I believe that an agreement with Sberbank existed at the time when the shares were bought," said the official.

The terms of the reported deal were not disclosed.

Sberbank refused to comment on the report, and Abramovich could not be reached.