July 12, 2019 / 3:15 PM / 3 months ago

Russia's Vostochny Bank capital fell below key threshold last month- c.bank

MOSCOW, July 12 (Reuters) - Russia's central bank warned on Friday that Vostochny Bank's capital adequacy ratio briefly dipped below a critical level last month, a sign of balance sheet problems at the lender amid a battle for control between shareholders.

Vostochny Bank, the country's 36th largest lender by assets, is controlled by businessman Artyom Avetisyan and private equity group Baring Vostok whose U.S. founder and other executives were arrested on embezzlement charges earlier this year.

Wisconsin-born Michael Calvey, who is being held under house arrest in Moscow, and other group executives deny the charges against them and say the case is being used to pressure them in a dispute over control of the bank.

Avetisyan's Finvision became a majority shareholder in the bank last month when Baring Vostok ceded a 10% stake in it.

The bank's common equity adequacy ratio fell below a key threshold from May 31 to June 5, the central bank said in a statement on Friday, without elaborating specifically what that threshold was.

Vostochny Bank confirmed the central bank statement, saying that it concerned a threshold used in regulating subordinate loan agreements. It said the bank was taking action to restore capital levels and hoped to do so by the end of August.

Russia's central bank began clearing up its banking sector in 2013 and, under governor Elvira Nabiullina, it has shut down nearly 500 banks. (Reporting by Tatiana Voronova; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Louise Heavens)

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