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Ruben Vardanyan not involved in Ameriabank deal, claims associate

Armenia

Ruben Vardanyan has no involvement in the possible sale of Ameriabank, according to one of his associates.  

Mesrop Arakelyan, a member of the Aprelu Yerkir party, issued a statement Monday denying reports on Vardanyan’s involvement in the deal.

Aurora Humanitarian Initiative co-founder and former State Minister of Nagorno-Karabakh Ruben Vardanyan was arrested by Azerbaijani authorities on September 27, 2023 while en route to Armenia together with tens of thousands of others amid the mass exodus. He has since been jailed in Baku on fabricated criminal charges.

In a statement, Arakelyan said that Vardanyan isn’t personally a shareholder of Ameriabank.

Vardanyan’s 48,8% shares are managed by Imast Group, he said. “No shareholder is authorized to make such decisions by themselves. Ruben Vardanyan, having left the bank’s board, hasn’t been engaged in the bank’s management for a long time. The discussions around the possible sale of the bank started back in 2022. The possible sale deal must receive confirmation of authorized state bodies of Armenia. In short, Ruben Vardanyan has nothing to do with the possible sale of the bank,” Arakelyan said.

On February 19,  Ameriabank released a statement saying it reached an agreement with the BOGG (the Group), a UK registered financial group, to join the latter as a standalone entity and the Group to become the main shareholder of the Bank, with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (“EBRD”) retaining their 10% shareholding in Ameriabank.

The Financial Conduct Authority, the financial services conduct regulator in the UK, has approved the circular of the transaction. As a next step, the transaction is subject to approval by shareholders, as well as the regulatory bodies, including the Central Bank of Armenia.

Bank of Georgia Group PLC is a UK incorporated international financial group listed on the Premium Segment of the LSE Main Market and a constituent of the FTSE-250 index. Among the Group’s shareholders are some of the world’s largest financial institutions, such as JPMorgan, BlackRock, The Vanguard Group, Schroders, Norges Bank Investment Management (a leading pension fund), etc.

Following approvals and closing of the transaction, Ameriabank will operate as a standalone entity within the Group under its own brand name and the current leadership in place, committed to Ameriabank’s adopted strategic goals, values, mission and vision.

Amidst significant achievements in recent years and the current stage of technological development, Ameriabank views this transaction with the Group as a one of the well-reasoned options for its long-term growth. Upon successful completion of the transaction, Ameriabank will become a member of a LSE listed Group with access to global financial markets to raise capital and investments and will continue offering the latest financial products and technological solutions to its customers.

Following the closing of the transaction and with Ameriabank on board, the Group also intends to change its name marking a new chapter in its development.

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