MOSCOW, April 26 - RAPSI. The Moscow Commercial Court has imposed interim measures on VimpelCom's shares on April 24 during proceedings in the antimonopoly watchdog's lawsuit against the shareholders of VimpelCom Ltd.'s parent company, the mobile phone operator reported on Thursday.

The court prohibited VimpelCom и VimpelCom Holdings from voting with its VimpelCom shares, while Telenor and Weather were banned from reshuffling VimpelCom's board of directors. The court also froze the shareholders' option agreement.

The Federal Antimonopoly Service has filed a lawsuit against Telenor, seeking to invalidate the stock purchase deal between Telenor and Weather Investments II S.a.r.l., owned by Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris. On February 15, Telenor paid $374 million to Weather Investments to acquire 234 million privileged shares in VimpelCom Ltd, thus increasing its stake in VimpelCom Ltd. up to 36.36 percent without making any changes to the use of put and call options.

The watchdog maintains that the stock and option purchase deal between Telenor and Weather Investments on February 15, 2012 is in breach of the law on foreign investments in strategic companies. The service also wants Telenor to return the shares to Weather Investments and sign a new shareholders agreement with VimpelCom and Altimo according to the previous terms.

VimpelCom Ltd. was established in autumn 2009 as a result of the merger between Altimo, which manages the telecommunication assets of VimpelCom Ltd.'s major shareholder Alfa Group, and Telenor interests in Russia's VimpelCom and Ukraine's Kievstar. In mid-April 2011 VimpelCom merged with Wind Telecom (former Weather Investments) to become the world's sixth cellular operator in terms of user numbers.