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Russia: President Scolds Outgoing Privatization Chief

Moscow, 15 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin scolded his outgoing privatization chief today for favoring well-connected banks in recent sales of state enterprises.

Alfred Kokh resigned earlier this week as deputy prime minister and head of the state property committee to pursue a career in private business. Yeltsin accepted the resignation and thanked him for his work in office.

At the same time, Yeltsin has charged Kokh with mishandling recent sales of state assets. He noted the Norilsk Nickel sale and Svyazinvest as two recent examples. Oneximbank, one of Russia's largest commercial banks, won both the Svyazinvest and Norilsk sales, triggering much criticism.

Yeltsin, in remarks broadcast on national television today, told a Kremlin meeting that it would appear some banks are closer to Kokh's heart. Yeltsin replaced Kokh with Maxim Boiko, a young reformer. The president also said he'd like to see a wider range of participants in future privatization offers.