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RusAl Wants New Vote With Norilsk Board

United Company RusAl, unhappy with the loss of a seat on the board of mining giant Norilsk Nickel, said Wednesday that it would ask for a new vote.

RusAl, owner of a quarter of Norilsk shares, said in a statement that it aims to convene an extraordinary general meeting and will submit the relevant request by July 20 so that the meeting could take place in October.

At stake is the balance of power on the board, where RusAl now has three seats and a rival has four.

RusAl also formally requested that Norilsk provide the voting papers from the annual general meeting elections.

"RusAl intends to undertake a rigorous inspection of the ballots and, if necessary, will call upon independent experts to examine the papers," the statement said.

"If this exercise reveals violations, RusAl intends to file a lawsuit to uphold its interests as a shareholder."

An annual shareholders' meeting elected Norilsk's 13-strong board at the end of June. The other biggest shareholder, Interros, an investment vehicle of tycoon Vladimir Potanin, kept four seats on the board.

RusAl lost one seat on the board for which it had recommended former chairman Alexander Voloshin. That left it with three representatives on the board.

RusAl boycotted the first board meeting because it believed that the voting had been manipulated.

Voloshin said this month that he had refused to approve the results of the shareholders' meeting, citing voting irregularities.

On Tuesday, RusAl's majority owner, tycoon Oleg Deripaska, said RusAl would seek Voloshin's re-election.

Voloshin has proponents in other quarters as well.

On Wednesday, President Dmitry Medvedev appointed him to head the administration's working group for creating an international financial center.

Voloshin, who headed presidential administrations under Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, will be charged with implementing Medvedev's vision of making Moscow a haven for foreign capital, where investors will feel "as comfortable as in London, Geneva or New York.” (Reuters, MT)

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