It is expedient to transfer the Russian Central Bank's stake in MICEX to the Russian government for its following privatization, Chairman of the Federal Securities Commission Igor Kostikov told journalists in St. Petersburg today. He pointed to "a conflict of interests" between the MICEX exchange and the Central Bank, MICEX's main stockholder, as the rationale for such a step. Kostikov also reiterated that he had sent a corresponding letter to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. Kostikov claimed the Central Bank having a bad impact on MICEX, particularly with regard to a trade of certain stocks. As an example he mentioned that the Central Bank's interference had cancelled a trading session with Gazprom stocks scheduled for May 13, 2003. Kostikov is of the opinion that these actions "go beyond the Central Bank's authority and contradict the interests of market participants".
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.