VTB files debt suit against Russia’s richest woman

Russia’s second largest lender, VTB bank has filed a suit against development company Inteco belonging to Russia’s richest woman Yelena Baturina, demanding repayment of 870.6 million rubles ($31.07 million), local papers reported on Friday.

Inteco, owned by Baturina, wife of former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, raised the 1.5 billion ruble loan in 2009, but stopped servicing the debt in the second half of 2011, Vedomosti and Kommersant dailies said.

“Negotiations on an extrajudicial settlement of the problematic debt have failed, and VTB had to go to court,” Kommersant quoted a VTB spokesman as saying.

The papers quoted Inteco spokesman Gennady Terebkov as saying the company was meeting all its obligations to lenders. However, Vedomosti quoted other Inteco sources saying the company had failed to service the debt.

Inteco also owes some 14 billion rubles to Russia’s top lender Sberbank and between 14.8 billion and 30 billion rubles to Bank of Moscow, which was Moscow government’s key investment vehicle under Luzhkov, and was recently taken over by VTB.

Inteco lost several construction projects with the Moscow authorities after Luzhkov was fired in October. He had been mayor of Russia’s wealthiest city for 18 years, during which Baturina earned a $2.9 billion fortune in construction deals, mostly in Moscow.

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