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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rossiya Buys Stake in Ren-TV

IK Abros, an affiliate of Bank Rossiya, which has ties to President Vladimir Putin, has bought a stake in Ren-TV.

While it is unclear how many shares Abros has acquired, the stake was big enough to get Abros representative Lyubov Sovershayeva the chairmanship of Ren-TV's board of directors.

Yury Kovachuk, chairman of St. Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya, is a close friend of Putin.

Ren-TV shareholders announced a new board of directors Monday, the television station said in a statement.

Sovershayeva worked on St. Petersburg's city property committee in the early 1990s, when Putin was serving as the city's deputy mayor, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

There had been only three shareholders in Ren-TV: two Russian and one German.

It was unclear Tuesday which Ren-TV shareholder -- steelmaker Severstal or oil producer Surgutneftegaz -- had sold its stock to Abros. Severstal declined to comment; representatives for Surgutneftegaz could not be reached.

Alexei Germanovich, Severstal's representative on Ren-TV's board of directors, was chairman of the board until Monday. Severstal and Surgutneftegaz each had owned 35 percent of Ren-TV.

Ren-TV's foreign shareholder, RTL Group, said the company retained its 30 percent stake, Kommersant reported. With 39 television channels and 33 radio stations in 11 countries, RTL Group is the No. 1 media company in Europe, according to the firm's web site.

Ren-TV refused to disclose further details Tuesday.

Abros also owns more than 38 percent of the television company Petersburg, which is based in St. Petersburg and has licenses to broadcast in several regions, not including Moscow.

Severstal owns 18 percent of Petersburg. The steelmaker also owns 7 percent of Bank Rossiya, which handles the company's accounts.

Ren-TV was known for its probing, Western-style news coverage until it changed hands in 2005. Founders Irina Lesnevskaya and her son, Dmitry Lesnevsky, sold their stake in July 2005.