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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UFG Denies Deutsche Bank Takeover

United Financial Group denied a report that Deutsche Bank is buying the remaining 60 percent of the Moscow investment bank that it does not already own.

Vedomosti reported Tuesday that Deutsche Bank, which bought a 40 percent stake in UFG in 2003, was exercising an option to purchase the remaining 60 percent of the company. The daily cited three unidentified people close to the situation and bankers in Moscow.

"This is absolutely not true," UFG chairman Mikhail Moshiashvili told The Moscow Times in an interview. "We have not received any proposals from Deutsche Bank."

There is a provision in the 2003 deal for the German financial giant to increase its stake in UFG, but no offer has been made to UFG or its shareholders, UFG spokeswoman Jennifer Buttenheim said.

Neither Olga Podoinitsyna, a Deutsche Bank spokeswoman in Moscow, nor Ronald Weichert, a Deutsche Bank spokesman in Frankfurt, would comment on the report.

Top European and U.S. investment banks have boosted their presence in Moscow as they bet Russia will become a more lucrative place for selling investment banking and trading services.

That is a big turnaround from 1998, when many foreign banks closed their Moscow offices or slashed staff as the country's default and devaluation sent a wave of volatility through world markets, leading to billions of dollars of losses for top investment banks and making Russia the pariah of global capital markets.

UFG was established in 1994 by Boris Fyodorov, a former finance minister, and Charles Ryan, a Harvard-educated banker.

Initially operating out of a modest Moscow apartment, it has grown into one of the country's top investment banks, known for its trade in shares of Gazprom, where Fyodorov has been a board member since 2000.

Deutsche Bank traces its history in Russia to 1881, when it acquired a stake in the Russian Bank for Foreign Trade in St. Petersburg and issued the first Russian Railway bonds.