The Bank of FC Otkrytie must stop the legal proceedings against Boris Mints's O1 Group structures in the Moscow Arbitration Court and not start new ones, it follows from the order of the High Court of England and Wales. Such a decision, as stated on the website, was made on June 6 this year.
"FC Otkryt" filed a lawsuit in Moscow arbitration against companies in the O1 Group in November 2017. The bank asked to recognize several transactions between it and the Mints structures invalid. In particular, FC Otkryt challenged the acquisition of bonds by OOO O1 Group Finance, early termination of loan agreements and repayment of loans by O1 Group entities.
In August 2017, O1 Group Finance placed two bond issues - 25 billion and 40 billion rubles. "From the funds received from the placement, various loans were repaid, including in FC Otkritie," explained a man close to the O1 Group. Because of the actions of the defendants, the bank lost more than 30 billion rubles., It was said in the lawsuit of the "Discovery".
At the petition of the plaintiff, the court seized several assets of the O1 Group, among which shares in the parent company O1 Properties (it owns 15 Moscow business centers with a total area of 743,000 sq. M.) And the Nevis business center on ul. Shchepkina. In February and April 2018, these decisions were confirmed by both the appellate and cassation instances. The next hearing on the merits of the claim is scheduled for 28 June.
The agreements on some transactions between FC Otkritie and O1 Group contained an agreement on the resolution of all disputes in international arbitration, Kirill Udovichenko, a partner of the law firm Monastyrsky, Zyuba, Stepanov and Partners, representing the interests of the latter, explains. "By this decision, the London court recognized that the bank had no right to file a suit in any state court, including in Russia, and ordered to refuse a substantial part of the current claims," Udovichenko explains.
The representative of O1 Group said only that the company considers the decision made by the British court to be absolutely correct, since the contracts between the companies that have become parties to the trial include an item providing for the resolution of all disputes in the international arbitration court.
Requests to the bank "FC Otkritie" and the Central Bank remained unanswered.
Interviewed by Vedomosti, lawyers disagreed about the consequences of the London court's decision. "Bank Otkritie Bank claimed that since it introduced an interim administration, all disputes with its participation should be considered in the state courts, but the London court rejected this argument, as the transactions were also challenged on civil grounds," says the managing partner of the legal the company "Rustam Kurmaev and partners" Rustam Kurmaev. That is, the content of the claims of the bank to the O1 Group is such that references to its special status, namely sanation, in this case do not matter for resolving the dispute, Kurmaev continues, and the terms of the agreement between the parties allow considering it in international arbitration. The decision of the High Court seems to the lawyer to be well-considered.
Partner of the law firm "Business Fairway" Alexander Kazus does not agree with him.
The position of the High Court that FC Opening Bank had no right to appeal to the courts of third countries rests on the terms of the contract, Kazus believes, however this point is not binding in the Russian jurisdiction. According to the lawyer, FC Opening Bank, being a Russian legal entity, filed lawsuits against Russian companies in respect of a dispute that is within the jurisdiction of Russian law, and therefore did not violate any procedural rights and obligations. The ruling of the London court, according to Kazusya, will not have consequences for the bank "FC Otkritie" in case of its non-execution.
Udovichenko also claims that an intentional violation of the High Court's order is considered a disrespect to him, which can entail criminal liability of employees and representatives of the offender.
Meanwhile, the legitimacy of buying bonds "O1 group finance" is now being checked by the Investigative Committee of Russia, sources of Vedomosti reported. The statement with a request to verify this episode, according to them, wrote the preliminaries of "FC Opening" Mikhail Zadornov. The Mintsev family - Boris and his sons - left Russia for London, two people close to the Central Bank reported, and a federal official.
The Mints are also negotiating the sale of O1 Properties. It can go to the Riverstretch Trading & Investments of Cyprus, which is associated with the group "Region" and "Rosneft", creditor O1, two of its partners and a person close to its shareholders told.