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Russia's Deputy PM to meet Rostelecom board next week

A woman passes by an office of Russian telecoms firm Rostelecom in Moscow, November 21, 2012. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
A woman passes by an office of Russian telecoms firm Rostelecom in Moscow, November 21, 2012. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's deputy prime minister will meet the board of Rostelecom next week amid reports he may suggest replacing the management of the state-controlled telecoms operator after the house of its CEO was searched in a fraud probe.

Aliya Samigullina, spokeswoman for Dvorkovich, told Reuters on Friday he plans to meet Rostelecom's board to discuss the reorganization of Rostelecom and state telecoms holding company Svyazinvest. She declined further comment.

Russia's Vedomosti newspaper earlier cited two sources as saying Dvorkovich might touch on the idea of replacing the company's management.

Russia's state development bank VEB along with Svyazinvest own a combined 53.2 percent stake in Rostelecom, which was created partly through Svyazinvest's telecoms assets.

Russian investigators in November searched the home of Alexander Provotorov, chief executive of Rostelecom, and the home of a minority shareholder, Konstantin Malofeyev.

The probe is linked to a $225 million loan by VTB to finance a business deal in 2007 in which, investigators suspect, Malofeyev was involved on both sides of the transaction. It follows a slew of scandals that has soured the mood of investors towards Russia.

Newspapers reported in October that Provotorov, who took the helm at Rostelecom in July 2010, could be replaced by Vadim Semyonov, the head of state telecoms holding company Svyazinvest who studied law with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Rostelecom declined comment.

(Reporting by Dasha Korsunskaya and Katya Golubkova; Additional reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Mark Potter)

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