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JPMorgan buys 2% stake in Bank of Moscow

JPMorgan Chase & Co. bought a 2% stake in the Bank of Moscow, a lender controlled by the Russian capital's government. The Bank of Moscow was established in 1995 at the initiative of the Government of the City of Moscow as an open joint-stock company. The Moscow Government and its related entities own a 59.96% share in the bank’s equity. Terms weren't disclosed. JPMorgan, the third-biggest US bank, said in a statement yesterday that the purchase was a „financial investment.” Russia's central bank approved the sale of Bank of Moscow stock Aug. 18. Russia's economy expanded 6.3% in the H1 of this year, more than twice the pace of Western Europe, amid surging oil prices and greater political stability. Eight years after the country defaulted on $40 billion in debt, Russia has won back many foreign investors. Moscow, Russia's wealthiest city, owns 62% of the company, which on Feb. 1 had 275.4 billion rubles ($9.8 billion) in assets, 80,000 corporate clients and more than 5.6 million individual customers, according to Bank of Moscow's Web site. A „significant” share of the bank's business is city-related, Fitch Ratings said. JPMorgan, based in New York, said on June 22 that it was considering buying a stake through the Bank of Moscow's plan to raise capital by selling stock. Shares of JPMorgan fell 25 cents to $45.46 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. (Bloomberg, mmbank.ru)