MOSCOW, March 10 (Reuters) - Russia's central bank said on
Wednesday it had ordered brokers to block the accounts of more
than 60 private investors it suspected of coordinating in a
Telegram channel to try to raise the share price of an electric
In a development reminiscent of lurches in U.S. video game
retailer GameStop's stock price in January, the regulator said
it had detected non-market pricing on Friday in shares in MRSK
Yuga, a Rosseti portfolio company.
The central bank said it had sent instructions to Sberbank
, VTB, Tinkoff, Alfa Bank, Otkritie
Broker, BCS and Aton to suspend deals and operations on
organised trading for individual clients.
Tinkoff said it had received the instruction and would
restrict access for 39 clients. Sberbank said it does not
disclose information on client operations. BCS and Aton declined
to comment. The other brokers did not immediately respond.
It was the first time the central bank had publicly
announced it was taking preventative measures, such as blocking
brokerage accounts, to stop violations to the law on market
The central bank, which was still investigating, identified
non-market pricing on MRSK securities at 1300 GMT on Friday,
Valery Lyakh, head of the bank's department for countering
dishonest practices, told a briefing on Wednesday.
"This non-market pricing continued for about half an hour,"
he added, before the bank detected Telegram channels that were
disseminating information about coordinated actions and seeking
to create artificial volatility in the market for those shares.
"More than 60 accounts of individuals have been blocked
until the situation is clarified," Lyakh said.
"Our task is not to fight with social media sites, but to
maintain market pricing."
Lyakh did not name the Telegram channel, but said the
transactions had occurred on the Moscow Exchange.
(Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; writing by Alexander Marrow;
editing by Katya Golubkova and Philippa Fletcher)