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08/03/1998 16:12:46 Russia to issue gold-backed paper soon-banker

MOSCOW, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Russia plans to issue gold-backed government

securities soon worth a maximum total of 50 tonnes of gold, a banker who

participated in working out the programme said on Monday.

UNEXIMBank deputy chiarman Yevgeny Ivanov told Reuters that Prime Minister

Sergei Kiriyenko signed main terms for circulation of the securities. Now the

Finance Ministry is to issue a more detailed plan, he said.

The government will sell the paper, called "gold certificates", among gold

miners who are to pay for them in kind. The miners will be obliged to sell the

securities on the secondary market.

The government will hold auctions where miners can sell their certificates

at the Moscow International Stock Exchange, the only exchange with a licence for

operations with gold. Ivanov added that first auctions would take place in

September.

"Of course, not all 50 tonnes will be placed at once, there will be three or

five auctions," Ivanov said. "It is clear that a $500 million issue in

September, when the liquidity of the Russian baking system is quite low, is

interesting to attract non-residents."

Under the programme, foreigners have the right to buy the certificates. But

since none of them have licences for operations with gold, they can only do that

on the secondary market, or through a Russian bank-agent.

Russian banks can also act as agents to export gold for foreign clients,

Ivanov said.

He said the securities would have maturities coinciding with the schedule of

gold mining with tranches maturing in August, September, October and November

1999.

((Alexander Yershov, Moscow Newsroom, +7095 941-8520

moscow.newsroom@reuters.com))

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