One of the creditors of the United Financial Capital (OFK) bank recognized as bankrupt - the Mordovian Regionstroyinkom LLC (RSI) - filed a lawsuit to bring to custody the former chairman of the board of directors and the owner of a 25% stake in the bank, a classmate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a partner in the lawyer Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners Bureau of Nikolai Egorov. Vedomosti got acquainted with a copy of the lawsuit filed with the Moscow Arbitration Court on September 20, its representative was confirmed by the representative of the plaintiff.
The amount of damage in the lawsuit is not indicated, RSI intends to clarify it during the process, says a company representative: the maximum amount is the amount of outstanding claims of OFK creditors upon completion of bankruptcy proceedings. As of August 1, the bank’s creditors' claims were 33 billion rubles, and the bankruptcy estate was 2 billion rubles, the bank’s bankruptcy trustee, the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA), reported. The requirements of the RCI itself to the bank are 2.8 billion rubles, the lawsuit said.
What are the claims
In addition to Yegorov, the RCI demands that the former head of the bank Nikolay Gordeev and the former head of the Rosalkogolregulirovanie (RAR) Igor Chuyan be brought to subsidiary liability. In December 2018, the Moscow Basmanny Court arrested a former official in absentia on charges of abuse of authority: the Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) considers Chuyan to be the beneficiary of the OFK and the once large distributor of Status Group LLC vodka, Kommersant wrote. According to investigators, the former official organized a scheme for the bank to issue non-repayable loans and unjustified guarantees to the company, which caused damage in the amount of about 30 billion rubles. Chuyang left Russia and was put on the international wanted list. In September, his property was seized. In the same criminal case, the accused also passes Gordeev, now he is under house arrest. The basis for the criminal case against Gordeev was the statement in the TFR of Egorov himself, Kommersant wrote.
The RSI has several complaints about Yegorov. The main thing is to make related-party transactions. As stated in the lawsuit, through the companies associated with it, Egorov in 2012-2017. placed currency deposits with the bank at inflated rates - up to 7% per annum in dollars and euros. Comparable market rates "did not exceed 2-3% per annum." Transactions were completed without “corporate procedures for approving related party transactions”.
At the beginning of 2016, the size of Yegorov’s personal funds in the bank reached 12 billion rubles. Then Yegorov, "exerting pressure on the leadership of the bank", began to withdraw money. From August 2016 to April 2017, he took 7 billion rubles, as a result of which the bank’s liquidity “was completely lost”: “The bank began to fulfill the liquidity standard by technical repo operations with securities. Since March 2017, the bank account has been virtually empty. ” By the end of 2017, Yegorov took all his money: 70-75% was withdrawn in cash, the rest was formalized into corporate obligations of third parties in favor of Yegorov, the lawsuit said.
Also in August 2018, the bank issued three guarantees in favor of Egorov's Axis Investment company for a total of $ 62.6 million. They were also not approved as an interested party transaction and doubled the standard N6 per borrower, the lawsuit said.
Finally, the plaintiff accuses Yegorov of falsifying the bank’s statements and not filing bankruptcy petition. Gordeev also presented the same claims: his plaintiff also accuses him of issuing loans and bank guarantees “in the interests of the business of the senior partner” Chuyan.
The plaintiff calls the former official "the ideologist of using OFK Bank as a captive in relation to his personal alcohol business." Because of this, the bank ended up bankrupt, the plaintiff believes. The Bank has never disclosed Chuyan among its main co-owners. But the TFR considered him a beneficiary of the OFK, Kommersant wrote. RSI in the lawsuit writes that Chuyan controlled 47% of the bank’s shares, and together with Gordeev and affiliates - more than 70%.
Yegorov did not receive notice of filing a lawsuit, he told Vedomosti through a representative: “The document that was in the media contains the only true statement that I really owned 25% of the bank’s shares.” Despite the position of chairman of the board of directors, he could not determine decisions, give authority to participate in the operational management of the bank and give instructions to management.
There were five seats on the board of directors, Yegorov and one of his representatives were in the minority, he explains: “I was recognized as a victim in criminal cases investigated by the Investigative Committee in relation to persons who used the bank in their own selfish interests and caused great damage to the bank's depositors and its shareholders” .
Chances of the parties
Based on the lawsuit and the fact that criminal cases were brought against Gordeev and Chuyan, the likelihood of them being brought to subsidiary liability is close to 100%, says Mikhail Fatkin, FMG Group partner. In defense of Yegorov will play his political status. In addition, he will most likely declare that he could not influence the economic activity of the bank and, moreover, was the initiator of the statement to the law enforcement authorities regarding Gordeev. But the circumstances of the case, judicial practice and public attention to this case may outweigh the political aspects, and it can also be brought to subsidiary liability.
It will be quite difficult to prove that the transactions made by Egorov did not affect the financial condition of the bank, because in fact he took the funds he owned, which ultimately had a significant effect on liquidity and led to bankruptcy of the bank, admits Dmitry Shevchenko, partner at Zamoskvorechye Law Office. Although the withdrawal of funds from a bank in civil circulation does not contradict the law, from the point of view of bankruptcy provisions this is of fundamental importance, since, as a rule, it leads to harm to other creditors. In addition, if it is proved that the rate at which Egorov placed deposits, obviously did not meet the market and the contract was concluded on conditions unfavorable for the bank and could lead to losses and further bankruptcy, avoiding subsidiary liability will not be easy, the managing partner considers expert Veta group Ilya Zharsky.
It is strange that the statement on bringing to subsidiary responsibility is made by the creditor, and not the bank’s bankruptcy trustee, the DIA, although the latter should not only be more interested in this, but it is also his duty, Shevchenko says. DIA conducts an audit of the bankruptcy of the bank and, based on its results, the persons guilty of bringing the bank to bankruptcy will be brought to subsidiary liability, the representative of DIA promises.
In 2015, Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko spoke about Chuyan’s possible affiliation with the alcohol business. In 2018, the general director of a major former producer of Crystal-Lefortovo vodka, Pavel Smetana, named him the beneficiary of Status Groups. This company appeared on the vodka market in 2012, its beneficiaries were not disclosed. In 2015, its revenue reached 40.7 billion rubles. The rapid rise was due to the fact that the company was engaged in the distribution of cheap vodka. The success was short-lived: in early 2016, the FSB, on behalf of Putin, cleared the alcohol market. It turned out that the factories in Kabardino-Balkaria reflected significantly more products in EGAIS than in tax returns - by the end of 2015, tax arrears approached 24 billion rubles. Vodka was being bottled at the factories, which was later sold by Status Group, but there were no tax claims against the company itself.
As a result, the debts of Status Groups at the end of December 2017 reached 10 billion rubles, now more than 18 billion rubles are included in the register of claims, including lenders and OFK Bank. Shortly before this, Status Group announced a partnership with Crystal-Lefortovo: companies combined their portfolios and their total market share, according to RBC, reached 17%. Following the “Status groups”, Crystal-Lefortovo began to have problems: already in 2018, the group’s enterprises began to close, and in the summer VTB initiated its bankruptcy.
RCI, according to SPARK-Interfax, specializes in the construction of residential and non-residential buildings. According to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, the company is owned by Alexey Davydov, who in 2016–2017 was a co-owner of Global Ecotrans LLC, the beneficiary of which is Smetana.
“We believe that Smetana is behind the lawsuit,” said a representative of Yegorov. The reason for this, he called the "emergence of questions from the investigation" to the businessman.
The representative of RCI said that Smetana and his companies are the main creditors of RCI. Smetana himself told Vedomosti that he was not a beneficiary of the RCI, but his companies were the plaintiff's creditors. To file a lawsuit is the idea of RCI itself and the only relation that Smetana has to the lawsuit is to provide RCI with information, he explained.