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Altimo demands $1.35 bln loan repayment from Turkey's Cukurova-1

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MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - Altimo, the telecoms arms of financial holding Alfa Group, said Tuesday it has demanded the repayment of its $1.35 billion loan from Turkey's Cukurova Group.

In November 2005, Altimo bought 49% of Cukurova stock for $3.3 billion and granted the Turkish company a $1.707 billion loan.

The deal enabled Altimo to acquire a 13.22% indirect stake in Turkcell, Turkey's largest mobile phone operator. In November 2006, Cukurova paid $357 million as principal, and $217 million as interest.

However, Cukurova defaulted on its loan commitments afterwards, Altimo said, adding it has referred the matter to a court in the British Virgin Islands to uphold its position.

But Cukurova Group dismissed Altimo's debt claim.

"Altimo's allegations are groundless. Cukurova Group is meticulously fulfilling the agreement and servicing its debt in a timely manner," the company said.

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