Business Lines Not for Sale

According to the lawsuit filed by Mikhail Khabarov, CEO of Trust Bank and A1 investment company, against the main owner of the transport company, Alexander Bogatikov, for $ 25 million, which was submitted to the London International Arbitration Court, interim measures were taken in Russia.
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On October 18, 2019, the Primorsky District Court of St. Petersburg banned any transactions, restrictions, encumbrances, transfer of rights in respect of eight companies included in the Business Lines group, and such transactions cannot be registered with tax inspectorate No. 15 in St. Petersburg. According to SPARK-Interfax, the business lines group through 0578 Holding LLC is actually owned by the founder of the transport company Alexander Bogatikov (43%), Magomedrasul Gadzhiev (25%), Grigory Gurariy (12.5%), Tatyana Bashmakova ( 12.5%), lawyer Alexander Kobzev (7%). The exit of owners from the companies of the group, as well as from LLC 0578 Holding and LLC AB Group, through which Bogatikov owns a stake in 0578 Holding, is also prohibited.

The court approved these restrictions as an interim measure in the suit of the Solarstones Limited company (75% from Mikhail Khabarov, CEO of Trust Bank, 25% from A1 investment company, which is part of Alfa Group), Khabarov told Forbes. According to him, on September 26, 2019, Solarstones filed a $ 25 million lawsuit against Alexander Bogatikov and his DL Management Limited company in the London International Arbitration Court. Khabarov said that on February 27, 2015, Solarstones and DL Management entered into an agreement under which he should provide Bogatikov with consulting services for managing Business Lines. But on August 21, 2017, DL Management and Bogatikov “unilaterally” and “without giving reasons” stopped fulfilling their obligations under this agreement, causing losses of at least $ 25 million, Khabarov insists.

Attorney Tatyana Vladimirova, representing the interests of Business Lines, called the act of the Primorsky Court of St. Petersburg on interim measures “illegal”. According to her, which was reported to Forbes by a representative of Business Lines, the Solarstones statement said "the fictitious addresses of the defendants, which created a unique opportunity to appeal to this court." “Despite this, and on violations of procedural legislation (we are talking about the ban on interregional inspection of the Federal Tax Service No. 15 in St. Petersburg to register for transactions with shares in Delovye Linii companies), the court promptly decided to take interim measures,” Vladimirova said .

Attorney Andrei Kozlov, representing the interests of Solarstones Limited, explained why the lawsuit was filed with the Primorsky court of St. Petersburg: “The law expressly permits the submission of an application to the court that relates to the last known place of residence of the defendant, which, according to our information, relates specifically to Primorsky area. In this case, jurisdiction in this case is not of fundamental importance, since the application for interim measures is considered without calling the defendant. What is important is the availability of legal grounds for taking measures - this issue must be checked by any district court regardless of its location. ”

According to Vladimirova, the court’s ruling on interim measures is disputed. She also clarified that "all non-standard phenomena that accompanied the filing of an application and the issuance of an act are checked for criminal offenses, violations of judicial ethics and the corruption component." “The complaint filed through the electronic justice system was mysteriously returned with a note of technical problems,” Vladimirova clarified. “Then the judge refuses to get acquainted with the case materials and goes on vacation.” The lawyer also drew attention to the fact that the judge who made the decision was already held disciplinary in 2012. The file on the Solarstones lawsuit against Bogatikov on the Seaside Court website states that the complaint from the defendant was accepted for consideration on October 24.
The suit of Solarstones Limited is not Khabarov’s only claim to Bogatikov. He moved to Business Lines from the post of president of A1 Investment Company in 2015. In a press release of Business Lines, which was sent out on February 25, 2015, Khabarov was named co-owner and chairman of the board of directors of Business Lines. Khabarov himself and a company representative confirmed this to Forbes, but the amount of the transaction and the size of its share were not disclosed. In August 2017, a conflict occurred between Khabarov and Bogatikov, in which the essence was not disclosed by the parties, but a press release from Caledor Consulting Limited, owned by Khabarov, stated that Bogatikov blocked his access to information and employees of Business Lines.

Currently, the International Commercial Arbitration in London is considering a lawsuit by Caledor Consulting Limited, which (like Solarstones Limited) is owned by Khabarov and A1 investment company. This structure claims to be a share in the "Business Lines" according to the documents signed by Khabarov and Bogatikov in accordance with the rules of foreign law. According to Khabarov, in February 2018, interim measures were also taken in the form of an arrest of assets belonging to Bogatikov for $ 153 million - only in Cyprus, as earlier Bogatikov controlled Delovye Lines through Cypriot structures. But by the time the interim measures were taken, the ownership structure of Business Lines had already been transferred to the jurisdiction of Russia, and the group also had new owners. The new ownership structure of the companies of the group, according to Interfax-SPARK, was registered in January-February 2018.

Established in 2001, the Business Lines group at the beginning of 2018 was the largest groupage cargo carrier in Russia (26% of the market). Now the company has 670,000 square meters. m of warehouse space under management, 4,000 vehicles of different carrying capacities and 20,000 employees. The total revenue of the companies included in the perimeter of Business Lines, according to SPARK-Intefax, in 2018 amounted to 50.5 billion rubles.