Russia's most indebted tycoon, Oleg Deripaska, said he does not need help from the state which is tackling an economic slowdown and hopes to reach agreement with creditors on restructuring billions of dollars in debt in the coming months.
Deripaska's comments came just a day after one of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's most trusted aides said the billionaire had already received unprecedented state support and should find a compromise with private banks.
The state should be left alone. We do not need financial help from the state, Deripaska told reporters late on Saturday. His comments were embargoed for release on Sunday.
Deripaska, the main owner of aluminum giant United Company RUSAL
His empire, stretching from airports to cement production, is still struggling under billions of dollars of debt and has been forced to divest assets in Canada and Germany.
Deripaska said RUSAL had a mechanism to restructure debts. He said he hoped to agree with creditors in March to delay payment on the principal part of the debts.
But Deripaska, who was last year ranked as Russia's richest man, denied reports his debts total about $30 billion.
This figure has nothing in common with reality, Deripaska said.
He said RUSAL broke even in 2008 and that there were investors who had long sought a stake in RUSAL. He said the state was not seeking to become a shareholder.
Deripaska said Russian companies could forget about foreign borrowing for about seven years.
(Reporting by Polina Devitt, writing by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Dmitry Solovyov)