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    Most Russian assets frozen in Noga case in France unblocked

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    Most Russian assets frozen in France following a claim by the Swiss trading firm Noga have been unblocked, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, January 29 (RIA Novosti) - Most Russian assets frozen in France following a claim by the Swiss trading firm Noga have been unblocked, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.

    Some assets of Russian organizations, including accounts held by Russia's Central Bank and news agency RIA Novosti were frozen earlier this month over a 49 million euro ($73 million) claim by the Swiss trading firm to secure the repayment of debts under barter oil deals struck with Russia's government in the early 1990s.

    "The assets that are still blocked are expected to be unfrozen soon," the ministry said. "Noga cannot hold any part of the frozen assets. Russian organizations will face no negative financial consequences."

    The Russian government earlier complained about the freeze through diplomatic channels.

    The ministry said the Central Bank and RIA Novosti would file a compensation lawsuit against the Swiss trader.

    Since 1993, the Swiss firm has repeatedly applied for the seizure of Russian property abroad, including Russian Central Bank accounts in France and a sailing vessel and military aircraft that took part in exhibitions and shows, to secure the repayment of debts.

    Alexander Kogan, a U.S. businessman of Russian origin, told a press conference on January 22 that he repurchased Russia's debt from Noga's four creditor banks in 2006 and re-assigned it to Russia.

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