The Limassol District Court, as part of interim measures, seized the assets of the leading Cyprus companies of the ITS group of Alexander Nesis for more than 8 billion rubles. in a claim for damages that was filed by the structures of the United Carriage Company (UWC), created by IST. This was reported to Vedomosti by a representative of Trust Bank. This bank of non-core assets is the largest shareholder of UWC: it owns 27.8%, and together with the sister bank Otkrytie (both belong to the Central Bank) - 52.1%.
The HVAC filed a lawsuit in early May, her representative says: a Cypriot court satisfied the requested measures in full. The assets of the Cyprus holding companies of the IST group were arrested for 8 billion rubles. without reference to specific, he explained. In Cyprus, there is the head company of the ICT group - ICT Holding Ltd, through which the group owns 27% of the Polymetal mining company and 45% of the Eastern mining company, according to the ICT Holding website.
HVAC claims are related to a number of transactions concluded in 2015–2018, the representative of Trust says: they have signs of non-marketability, and their goal, according to HVAC, was to withdraw money from the company in favor of the IST group. Neither the Trust nor the HVAC specified what specific deals were in question.
The seizure of assets prior to the start of the trial on the merits was adopted unilaterally without notice to the defendant, said a representative of the ICT group. The Nesis group considers the decision unreasonable and intends to appeal the seizure of its assets. Their amount is not critical, it is less than 5% of assets and will not affect the current activities of the ICT group and the implementation of its projects, its representative emphasized.
This is not the first attempt to arrest the assets of the ICT group in Cyprus over the past two years, the company spokesman says: in 2018, the company was a co-defendant in the lawsuit of Otkritie Bank against Boris Mints and his family for 500 million euros, and in 2019 to achieve an arrest assets of 200 million euros, the HVAC itself tried. In both cases, ICT Holding was duly notified and had the opportunity to participate in the proceedings, his spokesman said: as a result, the Limassol District Court twice denied the plaintiffs a warrant of seizure of assets, and the claims themselves were withdrawn.
The UWC lawsuit in May against the ICT group in Cyprus is really not the first: the company filed the first lawsuit in September 2019 for 13 billion rubles, confirmed the representative of UWC. The lawsuit in 2018, in which ICT was one of the co-defendants in the Otkrytie dispute against the Mintsev family, was not related to UWC, the process was terminated by the bank, and the main disputes against Mintsev were transferred to the jurisdiction of the English court, a carriage company representative said. We are talking about the London trial of the Trust and Otkrytie banks with Boris Mints and his three sons - in July last year, the court blocked the assets of the defendants by $ 572 million. The claims of the banks are connected with allegedly fraudulent (as characterized by their banks in the lawsuit) replacement transactions Mintsev companies secured loans in Otkrytie for non-market and illiquid bonds of O1 Group structures.
The documents of the London court also mentioned the IST with Alexander Nesis. First, he controlled one of the three companies that owned O1 Properties shares on Otkritie loans. And secondly, the ICT Holding (BVI) Latvian account was used in a complex chain to move money from selling O1 securities to banks to repay loans, so that it was not obvious that the loans were repaid by the money of the banks themselves: ICT Holding (BVI), it was said in a court order to block assets, was owned or controlled by Nesis.
The representative of the UWC also confirmed that a Cypriot court rejected interim measures in May this year against the company’s lawsuit against IST for 13 billion rubles, but on the whole supported the OVK’s substantive arguments and saw signs of collusion for damage. As a result, the company in May filed a lawsuit and a statement on the seizure of assets again, reducing the amount. The company representative did not comment on why the company reduced the amount of claims. The company called it standard practice to receive an order for the seizure of assets under a simplified procedure without the participation of the defendant.
Indeed, there is a simplified procedure in Cyprus proceedings during which a court can impose interim measures without notifying the defendant prior to the examination of the dispute on the merits, says Alexander Zakharov, partner of Paragon Advice Group. But its peculiarity is that the plaintiff must provide the court with the maximum number of his arguments in favor of the arrest, as well as the potential counterarguments of the defendant himself. Otherwise, the defendant, when appealing, may bring his own counterargument, which the court considers to be solid and immediately cancel the interim measures, explains Zakharov: the seizure of assets as part of the interim measures before the start of the proceedings will not allow the defendant to try to take them away if something happens.
After the main shareholders of the company became Otkrytie and Trust, the latter initiated a financial investigation at UWC, the representative of the bank conveyed the words of the board of directors of Alexander Sokolov: the investigation revealed operations that became the basis for the UVC lawsuit.
OVK is the largest producer of freight cars in Russia, specializing in the production of equipment with increased carrying capacity. Last year, it produced 21,000 wagons, earned 3.1 billion rubles. profit (against a loss of 9.7 billion rubles in 2018), revenue amounted to 64.5 billion rubles, the company says in accordance with IFRS.
The ICT group founded UWC - the production of cars was established in Tikhvin in the Leningrad Region from scratch in 2012. Gradually the group reduced its share and left the UWC capital last winter - the last 9.3% of the shares were sold to Rostec and then went to the Uralvagonzavod concern. Last spring, through the First Heavyweight Company (PTK), IST, together with friendly investors, including former UWC CEO Roman Savushkin, again increased its stake in UWC from 1.51 to 14.99%. But, not having had time to really return to the company, the group again left it: in June, a Cyprus Plainwhite Consultants, the sole owner of which is Emil Pirumov, acquired a 14.99% stake.