MOSCOW, September 24 - RAPSI. Moscows Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals has rejected Telenor East Holding II AS's appeal of the provisionary measures imposed by the verdict arising from the Federal Antimonopoly Service's lawsuit on the shareholders of VimpelCom, a subsidiary of VimpelCom Ltd, the court materials read.

VimpelCom Ltd. controls the major Russian telecommunications provider VimpelCom.

In February, Telenor acquired shares in VimpelCom from Weather Investments II, controlled by Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris, and increased its voting stake in the holding company first from 25.01 to 36 percent, and then to 39.5 percent. Subsequently, the parties signed an option agreement that allowed the Norwegian company to increase its stake to 43 percent. The Federal Antimonopoly Service challenged the transaction, and said the only way to resolve the conflict would be to distribute the shares in the company equally among the Russian and foreign shareholders.

Altimo, a Russian shareholder, holds 40.5 percent. Telenor was also prohibited from implementing the option agreement by the watchdog's lawsuit.
Earlier, the head of the antitrust watchdog Igor Artemyev said the conflict should be resolved before October 1, when the agreement expires.

According to the agreement, Telenor must buy three percent of VimpelCom's shares from Sawiris. Telenor had confirmed that it was determined to proceed with this. Altimo has also voiced concern about the option agreement, stating that a foreign shareholder would then control the Russian operator. Similar concerns have been voiced by parliamentarian deputies, who have written letters to the prime minister, the prosecutor general, the antitrust watchdog, and various other state agencies expressing their worry over the matter.

VimpelCom is one of Russia's largest integrated telecommunications services operators offering wireless, fixed and broadband services. Its sole shareholder is the Dutch VimpelCom Ltd.