MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian government is considering using the country’s National Wealth Fund (NWF) to buy the central bank’s stake in Sberbank <SBER.MM>, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Thursday, Russian news agencies reported.
The issue of change in Sberbank’s ownership came into the spotlight after two sources familiar with the plan told Reuters this week that the government was considering using the NWF, which is managed by the finance ministry, to buy the central bank’s stake in Sberbank.
“This issue is being discussed privately,” Siluanov said, replying to a question about whether the government is considering using the NWF to finance the deal.
“But we will discuss together with the central bank the way how it will be solved or won’t be solved,” Interfax news agency quoted Siluanov as saying.
The finance ministry said later on Thursday that Siluanov was referring to the overall issue of buying the central bank’s stake in Sberbank but not to using the NWF money.
(Reporting by Maxim Rodionov and Darya Korsunskaya; Writing by Anastasia Teterevleva and Andrey Ostroukh,; Editing by Katya Golubkova and Ed Osmond)