Chairman of the Board of Directors of Intesa Bank (subsidiary of Intesa Sanpaolo in Moscow) Antonio Fallico said it would be "a very big mistake" to assume that Russia itself could finance a deal to privatize 19.5% of Rosneft shares. "We need to understand two elements. There were no banks that bought anything," the Italian banker said in an interview with Business FM radio. He explained that there were two main participants in the transaction, two shareholders. This is one of the world's largest oil and gas traders Glencore. And the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), "which financed this transaction not only in financial interests, but also in order to create synergy in the energy sector."
According to Fallico, in order to conduct such an operation, you need to have a special relationship. "These investors had such relations," he stressed. And he expressed the opinion that the search in the media for "conspiracy" regarding the deal was caused by the fact that someone simply did not win the tender. "Because the tender was held, and our bank was not simply invited from the street to conduct this deal, but we won the tender," said Fallico.
He made his statements against the backdrop of a report by Reuters that the Italian authorities at the beginning of March finally approved a loan of € 5.2 billion for Intesa Sanpaolo to finance a deal to buy a 19.5% stake in Rosneft from the Glencore and QIA consortia. The deal needed approval by Rome because of the size of the loan and the risk of a possible violation of the sanctions restrictions imposed by the EU on Russia.
The agency recalled that Intesa bank decided to grant a €5.2 billion loan to Glencore and QIA consortium to purchase 19.5% of Rosneft shares on December 6, 2016 and immediately sent materials to the Italian Government's Financial Security Committee. But consideration of the matter was postponed until 2017 due to the fact that the new Italian government, headed by Paolo Gentiloni, was sworn in only in mid-December 2016. The issue was considered by the committee in early March, there were no violations. "Based on the results of all the inspections, we did not find any obstacles ... The operation was carried out in accordance with all the rules," the agency quotes the representative of the committee.
On January 3, 2017, Glencore and Qatar's sovereign fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) completed the purchase of a 19.5% stake in Rosneft. As a result, the state budget of Russia received 710.8 billion rubles. ($11.1 billion, or €10.5 billion). The equity capital of investors was €2.8 billion ($3 billion). Banca Intesa Sanpaolo was the main creditor of the consortium.
Later, the media reported that Russian banks participated in the financing of the deal. In mid-January, RBC wrote that VTB had participated in the privatization of 19.5% of Rosneft, providing in December 2016 a bridge loan to customers at 692 billion rubles. According to RBC, VTB was the creditor of QHG Shares for only a week: on December 22, the bank signed a concession agreement with Rosneftegaz, under which a pledge (19.5% of Rosneft shares) and the loan itself was transferred to Rosneftegaz, which owned the stake before Sale. The publication indicates that it is not clear whether these 692 billion rubles were returned to VTB Bank.
Later, RBC reported that Gazprombank was among the participants in the financing of the transaction.
On February 16, Fallico called false the reports that Gazprombank had placed funds in Intesa for indirect financing of the purchase of a 19.5% stake in Rosneft. "No. It's a lie. I do not understand where it comes from ... There is no deposit," said Fallico, stressing that Intesa is a fairly liquid bank. Participants in the transaction, he said, took over the traditional for such transactions, "normal" risks. According to Fallico, a discrediting campaign was launched against the privatization deal of 19.5% of Rosneft's shares. "There is a campaign of discrediting against this deal - it's unclear why," RNS agency quoted him. The head of the bank Intesa, who acted as the organizer of a syndicated loan to finance the purchase of shares, noted that this is a very attractive transaction and there were many who wanted to take part in it. And "not a huge bank" "managed to do everything right". "I tell you frankly: there is no intrigue, the transaction is very transparent, naturally, complex. But we all passed compliance, including European, American and Italian," Fallico said.