As it became known to Kommersant, a well-known Russian businessman, co-owner of Yulmart, Dmitry Kostygin, was sentenced to 12 months in prison in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). He was found guilty of violating a court order, according to which he was to disclose assets worldwide to one of his creditors - VTB Bank, as well as contempt of court.
Dmitry Kostygin, as a result of the financial collapse of the Yulmart group of companies belonging to him, owes VTB more than 650 million rubles since 2017. Against the backdrop of a protracted corporate conflict in the Yulmart company, it was not able to return the loan to the bank, for which Mr. Kostygin provided VTB with a personal guarantee. The Dzerzhinsky District Court of St. Petersburg satisfied the creditor's claim, collecting the debt personally from Mr. Kostygin.
Since the businessman did not voluntarily comply with the court decision, VTB began to look for, arrest and sell his assets not only in Russia, but also in foreign jurisdictions to pay off the debt.
In 2019, at the request of VTB, the BVI High Court of Justice issued an order obliging Mr. Kostygin to provide information on assets around the world worth over $ 1,000 and imposed interim measures on them in advance.
However, in the course of further proceedings, the creditors proved that the owner of Yulmart had evaded the execution of the court decision and was hiding from them the property that could have been used to repay the debts.
In particular, the bank's lawyers themselves found out that ten gold bars belonging to Mr. Kostygin's company are kept in the bank La Banque Richelieu Monako. In August 2020, the court of the Principality of Monaco, at the request of VTB, arrested them with the aim of further transferring them to the creditor. In addition, in the court of the Republic of Cyprus, VTB is challenging the deal on the withdrawal of large assets of the defendant Kostygin - shares of companies owning the Rive Gauche and Wild Orchid chain stores, which the businessman, according to the creditor, re-registered to the spouse of his business partner.
As a result, the High Court of the island state considered these circumstances sufficient to sentence Mr. Kostygin for contempt of court. The businessman, who did not appear at the hearing, was assigned a year in prison in absentia.
It should be noted that the decision of the BVI court actually blocks any financial transactions abroad for Mr. Kostygin, in particular, obtaining loans from large banks.
They are obliged to check information about their clients, and Mr. Kostygin is now not only under debt burdens, but also under a sentence, which, by the way, can be executed not only in the BVI, but also, for example, in the UK and the countries of the British Commonwealth.
At the same time, we recall that in Russia Dmitry Kostygin had serious problems with other creditors. In relation to him, the main investigation department of the ICR in St. Petersburg was investigating a criminal case of fraud on an especially large scale (part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) at the request of representatives of Sberbank, from whom he received a loan of 1 billion rubles. hid overdue financial obligations to other creditors. Mr. Kostygin, by a court decision, was placed under house arrest, but then released on bail, and the case itself was re-qualified to a less serious article - part 2 of Art. 165 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (causing damage without signs of theft).
Kommersant was unable to get comments from Dmitry Kostygin: his phone was switched off. The entrepreneur's lawyer Stanislav Danilov told Kommersant that he was not aware of the decision of the BVO court.
It is unclear how this could happen, since there were no face-to-face court hearings due to the pandemic, ”the defender asked a rhetorical question and answered himself: perhaps VTB obtained a punishment in absentia for the entrepreneur, taking advantage of the lack of defense in court.
In this case, Mr. Danilov promised, this order will be appealed immediately after its receipt. At the same time, according to him, the preliminary investigation in the criminal case against Dmitry Kostygin, which was initiated by Sberbank, has not yet been completed.
“We welcome the decision of the British Virgin Islands High Court of Justice against Dmitry Kostygin. We emphasize that VTB Bank will continue to seek the full repayment of the debt of Mr. Kostygin in accordance with the current legislation, ”the VTB press service noted.