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Kazakhstan-based CenterCredit has signed an agreement to buy the local arm of sanctions-hit Russia’s Alfa-Bank, an Interfax report said.

Under the agreement, CenterCredit will buy a 100% stake in Alfa-Bank Kazakhstan for an undisclosed sum.

The move is aimed at protecting Alfa-Bank Kazakhstan from the sanctions imposed by the US and other nations in response to Russia’s military operation against Ukraine.

Once the deal is legally finalised, the Kazakh bank will rebrand the acquired entity.

“This will thus be a fully Kazakh bank with a full range of banking services for individuals and legal entities. CenterCredit is ready to support the bank with additional liquidity using its own funds to fulfil all obligations to depositors, thereby expeditiously resolving the current situation for existing clients,” the statement read.

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Founded in 1988, CenterCredit held seventh place out of Kazakhstan’s 22 banks by asset size as of 1 March 2022.

With a 40.1% stake, CenterCredit’s chairman of the board of directors Bakhytbek Baiseitov is among the bank’s top shareholders.

A 9.2% stake is held by board member Vladislav Lee.

Earlier this month, the US imposed full blocking sanctions on Alfa-Bank and Sberbank, as well as their subsidiaries.

Following the US’ move, Alfa-Bank Kazakhstan revealed that the bank is looking for new shareholders.

Those doing business with Alfa-Bank have been asked to wind down their operations with the bank by 6 May 2022.