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Leviev Group Denies Reports of Plans to Sell Moscow Factory

Dec 6, 2009 6:26 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... Lev Leviev’s Russia-based Ruis Group has denied reports that the diamond mogul plans to sell a Moscow jewelry factory to help pay back loans due to Israeli banks, Reuters reported.

"Lev Leviev is not selling a factory and is not preparing to do so," a spokesperson for the Ruis Group said, adding that the group operates independently of Leviev’s Africa Israel investments.

The spokesperson was responding to reports in the Israeli press that Leviev plans to sell the Moscow factory to pay back loans to four Israeli banks on behalf of Africa Israel. Leviev owns a 75 percent stake in Africa Israel, a real estate company that primarily invests in U.S. and Eastern European properties. The company owes $1.98 billion (NIS 7.5 billion) to bondholders and another $132.5 million (NIS 500 million) to the banks, which has forced it to engage in the largest debt arrangement ever negotiated in Israel. Hearings regarding this agreement began this past week in the Tel Aviv District Court.

The Ruis Group is controlled by the Lev Leviev Group of Companies and according to its website, the group is Russia’s only vertically integrated holding company. Its operations include the Ruis Diamonds diamond-cutting factory, the Mews jewelry manufacturing and retail unit and the Uralalmaz mining deposit, which accounts for about 1 percent of Russia’s diamond production, according to Ruis' website.

Tags: Banks, Israel, Jewelry, Leviev, Manufacturing, Production, Russia
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