The owner of the NGO Cosmos Andrey Chernyakov intends to bring to justice the crooks and thieves from the state bank VTB. Chernyakov points out that he was deceived by fraudsters from the VTB group, who were implementing a plan to raid the seizure of Kosmos property.
Until 2014, Kosmos was one of the main contractors in Russia, specialized in the construction of bridges and tunnels. One of the company's biggest projects was the construction of the Alabian-Baltic tunnel in Moscow. In 2012, the Bank of Moscow issued a loan to Kosmos for 9.3 billion rubles. Before that, the Bank of Moscow was seized by VTB as a result of several scandalous operations that caused multibillion-dollar damage to the state and became the subject of tough criticism from Vladimir Putin.
Tenders on the distribution of state orders for construction, which were received by Kosmos (reconstruction of the Tverskaya Zastava and Bolshaya Akademicheskaya street), were cancelled by Moscow. Without funding, the construction projects stopped. In the autumn of 2013, they agreed to open a new credit line for 2.5 billion rubles : Cosmos planned to continue construction and pay off with the bank after receiving payment for state orders. Chernyakov became a surety both on a new line and on old loans.
But in 2014 the contractor could not continue to work. A monitoring procedure was introduced regarding him. At the same time, the Bank of Moscow transferred the requirements to Cosmos-M, which was part of the Cosmos group. And after the surveillance company was introduced into the parent company, Cosmos-M demanded that Chernyakov repay the loan, and not getting it, appealed to the court. In 2015, the court ordered Chernyakov to pay 10.9 billion rubles (credit, interest and penalty) to Cosmos-M. But the Bank of Moscow did not receive money from Cosmos-M, so it asked the court to oblige Chernyakov to pay 10.9 billion rubles to the bank. The court in 2015 agreed. Chernyakov was put on the wanted list and went to London.
Chernyakov asks to recognize the voucher contracts invalid, because he was misled. If he knew as the head of Cosmos that there would be no further financing, he would never have pledged personal property for 15 billion rubles, the suit said. Chernyakov "never even had property worth such a sum," the suit said, and VTB was "perfectly aware" of this.
Funding for Chernyakov was guaranteed by top managers of VTB Group - the first deputy chairman of the Bank of Moscow Alexander Yastrib and board member Andrey Germanov. They did it deliberately. The Bank simultaneously concluded the same guarantee agreement for the credits of Cosmos with "Firm Promstroyrekonstruktsiya". But the Arbitration Court of the Moscow Region found it invalid: the bank had to analyze the financial condition of the company and find out that it did not have the means to compensate such a sum.
The fact that the requirements were duplicated from the bank, and from Cosmos-M, Chernyakov also asks to be recognized as a violation. All actions were pre-planned well in advance by the VTB managers: they were going to be enriched on the property of Cocmos, and the assignment of claims was commercially unreasonable and absolutely unprofitable for the bank, the suit said.
In the first report of the bankruptcy in 2015, the assets of Cosmos were estimated at 31 billion rubles, including land plots and1 thousand units of construction equipment. But the bank, without waiting until it receives reimbursement from the company, filed a suit against the guarantor, says Kirill Belsky, partner of Koblev and Partners, representing Chernyakov's interests in court.
20 billion rubles, which Chernyakov demanded, is money that the courts awarded at the suit of the Bank of Moscow and Cosmos-M. The funds were partially recovered from Chernyakov's arrested personal property. Among them villas in Florence, apartments in Dubai, tells Belsky.
The Bank of Moscow from the VTB Group until 2015 was overseen by Mikhail Kuzovlev. In 2011, Forbes included him in the top five most expensive managers in Russia with a salary of $30 million. VTB, at the same time, issued a furious press release about libel and falsification. However, the explanation that VTB board received from the bank for the year 608 million rubles, and all top managers of VTB Group - 5.7 billion, sounded unconvincing. The editorial office of Forbes initially indicated that the total amount includes other sources of income. A significant part of non-public revenues in the name of VTB's top executives, including Kuzovlev, comprised offshore tranches from the Cyprus Russian Commmercial Bank. One of the directors of this structure was Mikhail Kuzovlev himself, so the Cyprian bank paid in 2011 to the managers of VTB Group $40 million only in the form of dividends.
Permanent Forbes publications about inflated salaries of VTB executives and offshore schemes for their accrual, allowing the leaders of the state bank to evade taxes, led to a change in the owner of the Russian version of the magazine. The new publisher, Alexander Fedotov, received a record subsidy, unaccounted for in the official cash department of VTB, instructed him to send him before the release all the materials where VTB is mentioned in a critical manner. That's why it's unlikely to see Forbes publishing a detailed investigation on the dependence between the VTB top managers' incomes and the spending of the funds as part of new mergers. For example, the purchase of Bulgarian Telecommunication Company, which, according to its shareholders, was subjected to a raider attack by VTB Capital.
Several months ago, Forbes journalists accused Fedotov of the deliberate concealment of the VTB managers' salaries. This information was excluded from the annual ranking of the most highly paid Russian top managers, published at the Forbes website on Novermber 24, 2016. The authors are sure that the incomes of the VTB management were eliminated by Fedotov personally. The authors include Yelena Berezanskaya, Anna Kasyan and Alexander Levinsky, but the website mentioned only "the Forbes editorial office".