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Anti-Trust Watchdog Opens Case Against Perm Governor

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has accused Perm Governor Viktor Basargin of violating competition laws while choosing a contractor for a new airport terminal.

A case has been opened against the governor and he could face a 15,000 ruble ($450) to 30,000 ruble ($900) fine for violating Article 15 and Article 16 of the law, Vedomosti reported.

The charges stem from the selection of Koltsovo-Invest, owned by billionaire Viktor Vekselberg's Renova group, as the company to build a new terminal at the Bolshoi Savino Airport outside of Perm.

Basel Aero, owned by Oleg Deripaska's Base Element holding company and headed by Leonid Sergeyev, also bid on the project and filed a complaint with the anti-monopoly watchdog after the terms of the tender were changed following Koltsovo-Invest's selection as winner.

Sergeyev said the original competition terms awarded the winner the opportunity to negotiate an agreement with the regional government to build the new airport complex. However, when Renova won, the conditions were reportedly changed so that the company could receive up to a 75 percent stake in the finished airport, which would then be privatized and called the Perm International Airport.

A source in the company Novaport, which also bid on the project, told Vedomosti that negotiating a transfer of shares in the airport before it actually became privatized violated privatization laws.

The Perm regional government can cancel the deal unilaterally if it concludes that anti-trust rules were broken, said Rustam Batyrov, a lawyer at Yukov and partners.

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