MOSCOW, July 23 (RAPSI) – Companies affiliated with Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) have appealed against the court order stripping them of their control over the port of Astrakhan, RIA Novosti reported Wednesday.

Khazar Sea Shipping Lines, South Way Shipping Agency and Azores Shipping Company controlled by IRISL in 2010-2011 have mutually gained a controlling stake (up to 53%) in the managing company of the port which is on the list of the strategic entities. As a result, they managed to secure places on the board of directors for their candidates.

Russian regulator (the Federal Antimonopoly Service) filed a suit seeking to annul the deal over the controlling stake of the port which was granted in May. The order issued by a commercial court of the city of Astrakhan was based on the probe of the Federal  Security Service (FSB) which showed that all three companies were controlled by IRISL. The court dismissed the argument of the companies which said that their stakes can’t be put together because they were registered in different countries.

The court ruled that the companies acted in violation of the federal law on foreign investment. Under the law foreign companies willing to purchase a stake of more than 25% and up to 50% in a strategic Russian entity need to apply for a special permission. The companies controlled by IRISL failed to get such a permission for the deal over the Astrakhan port.