July 3, 2017 / 6:42 PM / 7 months ago

Belarussian investor seeks to buy Sberbank's Ukraine subsidiary

KIEV, July 3 (Reuters) - Belarussian investor Viktor Prokopenya is looking to buy the Ukrainian subsidiary of Russia’s biggest bank Sberbank and has asked the central bank to approve the deal, Ukraine’s central bank said on Monday.

Prokopenya aims to acquire 100 percent of the Ukrainian subsidiary via Belarussian Paritetbank, the central bank said in a statement.

Ukraine recently imposed sanctions on Sberbank and other Russian state-owned banks operating in Ukraine in response to tensions over pro-Russian secessionists in eastern Ukraine.

Sberbank Chief Executive German Gref said in March the bank was looking “very actively” at options for a quick exit from Ukraine. Sberbank also said it had reached a preliminary agreement to sell the subsidiary to a Russian consortium.

In April, Ukraine’s central bank said that Said Gutseriev, a son of Mikhail Gutseriyev, co-owner of Russian mid-sized oil producer Russneft, had submitted a proposal to buy 77.5 percent of Sberbank’s Ukrainian subsidiary, while Grigory Guselnikov, the main shareholder of Latvian Norvik Bank, had bid for the remaining 22.5 percent.

Ukrainian law allows the central bank to analyse potential buyers’ proposals for three months. The regulator has not yet announced a decision on applications of Gutseriyev and Guselnikov.

VP Capital company, founded by Prokopenya, has said it is working on a number of investment projects with the Larnabel Enterprises fund of the Gutseriev family.

Asked about the link with Gutseriev’s bid, Prokopenya said: “Our applications are independent.”

Sberbank was not immediately available to comment outside business hours on Monday. (Reporting by Natalia Zinets. Additional reporting by Andrei Makhovsky in Minsk. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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