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Telenor suit against VimpelCom adjourned until April 3

RIA NOVOSTI. February 26, 2006, 8:03 PM

MOSCOW, February 26 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow Arbitration Court adjourned Sunday consideration of a lawsuit filed by Telenor, a major Norwegian telecommunications concern, against Russia's second largest wireless telephone operator.

The court has completing preliminary hearings and is planning to begin hearings on the merits of the case at its next session, April 3.

Telenor has filed three suits with the Moscow Arbitration Court against VimpelCom, which operates under the Beeline brand name, over a deal to buy Ukrainian Radio Systems, which uses the WellCom brand name.

In its first lawsuit, Telenor was demanding the annulment of a decision by a VimpelCom shareholder meeting on September 14, 2005 to approve a deal to buy Ukrainian Radio Systems.

The second lawsuit was filed against VimpelCom, Russia's first company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and other five companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and Cyprus, and an individual who, Telenor claimed, had sold the Ukrainian company.

The Norwegian company, which also holds stock in Kyivstar Communications, another telecommunications company in Ukraine, said the deal had been concluded in violation of Russian legislation.

The third suit is seeking the annulment of a decision made by VimpelCom Director General Alexander Izosimov to close the deal without the permission of the board of directors.

Telenor's legal partner Peter O'Driscoll said the company would seek lawsuits against VimpelCom outside Russia as well, and added that the lawsuits filed with the Moscow Arbitration Court did not contain any injunctive relief.

But VimpelCom said Thursday in response to Telenor's statement that it was confident it would win the suit.

VimpelCom further said in a statement that it regretted that Telenor had given up any intention of finding "a constructive and mutually acceptable solution to the issue of VimpelCom's expansion into Ukraine."

"The company is convinced that all its actions in relation to the purchase of Ukrainian Radio Systems were correct, transparent and complied with Russian legislation," VimpelCom said.

(The Moscow Times 27.ii.06)

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