Abramovich threatens action over Irish Nationwide fallout

City A.M. Reporter
THE Russian billionaire and Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich may take legal action against the Irish government over its decision to make subordinated bondholders in Irish Nationwide (INBS) pay part of the bill for dealing with the building society’s huge property losses.

“We urge Irish authorities to re-consider their position on INBS subordinated bonds and come out with a detailed plan on what is going to happen to this institution,” a statement from Abramovich’s investment vehicle Millhouse said yesterday.

“In the meantime, we are fully prepared to vigorously defend our position using all possible legal means.”

Ireland said last Thursday it expected bondholders in INBS and nationalised lender Anglo Irish Bank to make “a significant contribution” towards meeting the cost of a bill of up to €40bn (£34.6bn) for cleaning up their years of reckless lending.

Both bonds are trading at significant discounts in the secondary market.

Anglo Irish, which has €2.4bn in subordinated bonds, accounts for over two thirds of Ireland's “worst case” bank bill of €50bn. Irish Nationwide will cost taxpayers €5.4bn.
Abramovich’s vehicle said it was unfair to make Irish Nationwide’s bondholders take losses.