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Raiffeisenbank sued over breach of Russian anti-monopoly law

MOSCOW, January 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's anti-monopoly watchdog said on Wednesday it had filed two lawsuits against Austria's Raiffeisenbank and nine Russian insurance companies for breaches of laws on competition protection.

"Signs of breaches of anti-monopoly legislation are seen in the actions by the bank and the insurers, which concluded agreements that led or may lead to competition restriction on the insurance market, including actions to set or maintain prices (tariffs)," the anti-monopoly service said.

The regulator said the suits were filed on December 29, 2007.

The first suit was filed against Raiffeisenbank and two insurers - RK Garant and the Military Insurance Company - for collaboration in mortgage crediting, the watchdog said in a statement.

The defendants in the second case, opened into car credit collaboration, are Raiffeisenbank and eight insurance companies, the statement said.

The suit was filed owing to agreements concluded by Impexbank (which was taken over by Raiffeisenbank in late 2007) with eight insurance companies in 2006. After Impexbank ceased to exist, the suits were re-filed against Raiffeisenbank as its successor, the statement said.

Many banks require that clients conclude insurance contracts to receive mortgage and car credits, in particular contracts to insure the borrower's life, property to be acquired, and property to be provided as collateral. On some occasions banks offer that borrowers include insurance in the credit, further raising the cost of insurance.

Most banks cooperate with a specific group of insurance companies and oblige their clients to conclude insurance contracts with them in order to receive credit.

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