Standard & Poor's lower outlook for MENATEP Saint Petersburg Bank to "negative"

International rating agency Standard & Poor's has lowered its outlook for local bank MENATEP Saint Petersburg from 'developing' to 'negative'. According to the agency, the CCC+ long-term and C short-term counterparty ratings have been affirmed.

Standard & Poor's analysts say that the change 'reflects the fears that the government's ongoing investigation into members of MENATEP and YUKOS for tax evasion could have a negative impact on the bank's reputation, reliability and liquidity.' The agency confirmed that the ratings could be lowered depending on how YUKOS investigations develop.

The bank's creditability rating reflect the bank's capacity for giving short-term and long-term loans taking into account interest rates and other stipulations and conditions.

MENATEP CEO Platon Lebedev is co-owner of MENATEP, investment bank TRUST and MENATEP Saint Petersburg bank. He was arrested in July 2003 for the illegal appropriation of the government's 20% stake in Apatit. The stake was worth USD 283.14 million. Since then he has also been accused of tax evasion and fraud. He is still under investigation.

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