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UK court issues asset freeze order against Russia's Vozrozhdenie Bank - law firm

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Commercial Court in London has ordered a freeze of assets owned by brothers Dmitry and Alexei Ananyev, secured against Russia’s Vozrozhdenie Bank <VZRZ.MM> and other international assets, a law firm representing investors said.

The order was obtained by London law firm Withers, which applied for the freezing order on behalf of investors who say they lost money on their investments when Promsvyazbank, formerly owned by the Ananyev brothers, was nationalised by Russia in 2017.

“The investor group agreed to exchange around $11m (in) deposits in Promsvyazbank for fixed-rate notes which were claimed to be ‘safe investments’ and offer a higher rate of return,” Withers said in a statement, adding that nationalisation made the notes worthless.

Dmitry Ananyev and Vozrozhdenie could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

Russia’s second-largest lender VTB <VTBR.MM> said this week that it had agreed to buy a controlling stake in Vozrozhdenie..

VTB said on Friday it was ready to purchase Vozrozhdenie only if the sale was free of legal consequences, the Interfax news agency reported.

Vozrozhdenie, one of Russia’s top 40 largest banks by assets, was put up for sale by the Ananyev brothers at the central bank’s request after their main asset, Promsvyazbank, was bailed out.

(Reporting by Anna Rzhevkina in Gdynia; Additional reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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