March 14, 2012 / 7:58 AM / 5 years ago

Russia's Vekselberg may sue Rusal in oligarch row

MOSCOW March 14 (Reuters) - Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, who has resigned from the board of RUSAL, may sue the world's largest aluminium producer over its allegation that he failed to fulfil his duties as chairman, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

Vekselberg's decision to quit as chairman on Tuesday was the latest act in a long-running row with RUSAL's controlling shareholder and CEO, Oleg Deripaska, over Deripaska's ambitions to build RUSAL into a global-scale metals and mining business.

RUSAL responded to Vekselberg's decision to step down by saying he had pre-empted his sacking.

Vekselberg's spokesman Andrei Shtorkh rejected RUSAL's allegation that Vekselberg had not attended RUSAL board meetings for a year and that his removal had been discussed.

"This does not correspond to reality," Shtorkh said. "Vekselberg is thinking of filing a lawsuit against RUSAL."

Vekselberg said in a statement that a "deep crisis caused by the actions of the management" prompted his resignation.

Kommersant newspaper reported on Wednesday that Max Goldman, an executive of Vekselberg's Renova Group investment arm, would take his place on the board of RUSAL.

A chairman would be elected from among RUSAL's five independent directors, who include WPP chairman and former U.S. ambassador to Britain, Philip Lader, and Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange chairman Barry Cheung, the paper said.

RUSAL shares, which have fallen more than 40 percent from their value at a 2010 initial public offering, fell 5.9 percent in Hong Kong trade.

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