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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Aide Ties EADS Stake to Cooperation

Putin's top economic aide, Arkady Dvorkovich, linked the fate of a VTB stake in Airbus parent company EADS directly to any future joint production deals with the state-run United Aircraft Corporation on Monday, before appearing to retract the statement.

"If cooperation is increased, then the stake could be increased," Dvorkovich said, speaking at a conference in Kazan organized by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

He went on to suggest that if cooperation does not increase, then state-controlled bank VTB could look to dump the 5 percent stake it acquired last year.

"If there is no partnership then there is no sense in keeping it," he said, Reuters reported.

Russian news wires, however, later withdrew their reports after Dvorkovich apparently corrected his comments.

VTB senior vice president Vasily Titov moved quickly to deny any talk that the bank was planning to increase its stake in EADS.

"VTB Group regards this investment as purely commercial. The nearly 5 percent stake in EADS seems to be the best against the situation on the world stock market," Titov said in a statement.

A spokesman for EADS said any decision was up to individual shareholders.

"We do not comment on the decisions of our shareholders," said EADS's head of international media relations Gregor Kursell.

Kursell also clarified a statement from Dvorkovich that "there is an agreement with EADS to develop a new cargo aircraft." EADS has an agreement to study the feasibility of developing a transport aircraft with the United Aircraft Corporation, Kursell said.

Dvorkovich's comments follow a recent call by recently elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy for EADS to attract additional investment.

But Kursell denied that this had any bearing on Russia's investment in EADS.