Fertilizers of discord: the essence of the legal proceedings around "Apatit" in London

The case of "Apatit", which triggered the destruction of Yukos, has long been forgotten. What now worries the business owner Andrey Guriev?
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The heavy door closed cabinet. Boss - Senator and de facto owner of the holding "Fosagro" Andrey Guriev - invited the Head of the Tax Administration Igor Sychev holding a meeting on the sensitive issue. On the eve of April 1, 2005, it became aware of the tax claims for 5 billion rubles to the "Apatit", part of "Fosagro". He recalls Sychev, the chief said, "I'm going to Serdyukov! I will tell him that these claims are consistent with the policies of President Putin "(future Minister of Defense at the time headed the Federal Tax Service of Russia -. Forbes). He himself was more silent. Igor Sychev was surprised not only the subject of the conversation, but the very fact of the invitation in a tall cabinet. "In 1998, they came up with the scheme, in my opinion, illegal - says Sychev. - I said that this will not participate, will not endorse statements. The decision was taken contrary to my opinion. This has caused complications in our relations. "

The visit gave nothing to Serdyukov. But "Fosagro" still managed to fend off the claims. It could be considered a miracle: the destruction of Yukos began with the arrest and prosecution of Plato LebaMaid of embezzling state-owned shares and tax evasion "Apatite". Then, in July 2003, suddenly disappeared owner of the office, located opposite Guryev, - chairman of the "Fosagro" Board Alexander Gorbachev. No one said goodbye, he flew to London and more in Russia did not return. "It was not a voluntary departure. But Guriev and it was clear that to continue for the company is unreal, "- says Gorbachev.

12 years later, in May 2015 he filed a criminal lawsuit against the court of Cyprus Andrey Guriev and other owners' Fosagro "demanding the return of allegedly illegally taken from his 24% stake in the holding company. And four months later, Igor Sychev, who left "Fosagro" in 2013, sent a statement to the Russian law enforcement authorities with allegations against Guriev and other managers of the holding. Why former managers feel entitled to make claims principal owner of one of the largest fertilizer producers in the country?

Northern Troopers

Andrey Guriev, who left the Council of the Federation in 2013, otkazalsI have to comment for this article. His path to billion (№28 on the Forbes list, the state $ 3.5 billion) is closely linked to Mikhail Khodorkovsky. They met in the late 1980s when both worked at the Frunze district committee of the Komsomol. After creating the "Menatep" Khodorkovsky called Guryev to him, offering to engage in real estate privatization. In 1994, when the "Menatep" structure of privatized "Apatite", Khodorkovsky Guryev commissioned to manage the company.

"We had to disembark to troops. And Guriev was ready to team - says Alexey Golubovic, a former co-owner of "Menatep", now managing director of Arbat Capital. - They dealt with the St. Petersburg group, which surged after privatization. I had to settle the case on the October Railway and Murmansk port to deliver raw materials. Khodorkovsky was not another team, which would take it upon himself. "Apatite" for the "Menatep" has always been a black box. " According to Golubovic, Guriev team worked on oral agreements and received bonuses from profits, and shares owned"Menatep" structure. However, there are other opinions on the ownership structure. As one of the former top managers "Fosagro" Khodorkovsky wanted to get rid of the "Apatit" as of troubled assets. "But Khodorkovsky Guryev convinced that he would take over half (the other half remains in structures" Menatep ") and try to develop it all."

As part of the "Apatity landing" was Alexander Gorbachev, another colleague Guryev on the Komsomol, in the late 1980s led Moskvoretsky district committee. "From Guryev we had a good relationship, even friendships, we met families. In the "Apatit" and later in "Fosagro" We were partners, but it is not advertised, "- says Gorbachev. Prominent and personable, a good speaker and soul of the company, Gorbachev compensated isolation, taciturnity and distrust Guryev. After becoming CEO of "Apatit Trade", he was responsible for relations with the authorities and marketing, was negotiating with foreign partners. Sychev says that Guriev and Gorbachev and the rooms were side by side, and the general secretary, and even at home aboutno built in a suburban village. "They had a friendly-working relationship. Outwardly, everything is always looked very peaceful and well "- confirms Golubovic.

Igor Sychev appeared in the company in 1996. Classmate on economic faculty of Moscow State University Paul Strukov introduced him to his right hand Guriev and current minority shareholder "Fosagro" Igor Antoshina. Sychev has accepted the offer to work in the "Apatit". Soon appeared in time and again - tax claims for $ 2 million, which Sychev, he argues, has won with the assistance of the chief accountant and lawyers "Apatite". Since then and up to the dismissal in 2013, protection of the company in tax disputes for Sychev became main job. He recalls that Andrey Guriev seemed to him a man mentally and humanly liked. The chief was living on Khoroshevskoye highway in the same house where his driver. Once Sychev, pausing at work, late for a train and left the driver to spend the night. Late at night in the apartment rang. Sasha stood there with a bunch of flowers. He recalled that the driver - a wedding anniversary.

difference between the resultsTats

"Apatite" for Andrey Guryev (former slave describes him as an extraordinary man, a warlike people and lights) became a place of realization of personal ambitions. In 2001, he began to form around the company holding "Fosagro", which included "Balakovo Mineral Fertilizers", "Voskresensk Mineral Fertilizers" and "Cherepovets Azot". But it was "Apatite" became the basis of his condition. The Yukos affair overshadowed case "Apatit" and the group "Menatep" had existed, despite the arrest of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, in the beginning of 2005 sold 50% of shares "Apatite" team Guryev. Presumably, for $ 200 million and a deferred, that is, with the ability to pay of the earned profits of the enterprise. According to Forbes data, in addition to a team of buyers Guryev were Gorbachev and Antoshin.
In the life of Alexander Gorbachev "Apatit" played a fatal role. Appointed in 1996 by the head of the mining and chemical department of CJSC "FAI" (engaged in industrial assets "Menatep"), three years later he became the executive director of the Associationfertilizer "Fosagro" which Guryev subsequently transformed into a holding company. Already holding Gorbachev led the Board of Directors. Andrey Guriev, being a de facto chief, kept a low profile and did not hold leadership positions - in 2001 he got a job as a representative of the Murmansk region in the Federation Council of the Russian Federation. As a result, he got away with it, and Gorbachev, whose signatures were on documents "Apatite", had to leave the country.

For Igor Sychev career in "Apatite" has become a sort of a suitcase without a handle. During his work in "Fosagro" Holding managed to fend off the claims of the tax on the total amount of 17 billion rubles, and also receive compensation in the amount of 310 million rubles. Sychev claims that for the first time spoke about the option before the completion of major tax cases - in early 2003. "By the time we created a lot of precedent [for protection from tax claims]. Then a wave of stock option programs, including Yukos. Antoshin promised to talk to Guryev - Sychev said. - Then it was not before because of the arrests. We won the court, one by one, and Antoshaeach time answered, yes, of course, go to Guriev, your achievements are obvious. Himself to go I could not to Guriev - he then put the protection, floor currently fenced off, I put locks. Phones hide it from me. " In 2011, on the eve of IPO «Fosagro" Andrey Guriev Sychev sent a letter by e-mail, which outlined the essence of the conversation with Antoshina and put a report on its work. "The next day I phoned Sasha Jr. (son of the owner of the ground, while the Deputy Director General, currently CEO of" Fosagro »- Forbes.) And said, nothing you wrote, and so we all understand."

Payment for retribution

When "Fosagro" before the IPO opened a shareholder, Alexander Gorbachev, finding himself on the list, was disappointed. After leaving Russia, he spent most of his time on "the decision of legal issues related to extradition." Regarding the holding, he says, were "arrangements that were made up to a point. We have maintained friendly relations, Sasha came to London, we met and talked. Relations soured in 2011 ". Thabout exactly happened, Gorbachev said.

Source familiar with the situation Forbes points out that until 2011 connected with "Fosagro" structures regularly transfer funds into an offshore company, open to Gorbachev's name, in the form of loans with the possibility of further write-offs. Once Gorbachev raised the issue of shares, loans presented for return, was even arrested at the house, decorated in its offshore company. Then, in May 2015. Gorbachev sued for "Fosagro" Guriev, Antoshin and other shareholders, accusing them of illegal deprivation of his ownership of the shares.

A source close to Guryev, insists that the claim of the former Chairman of the Board of Directors has no basis and is aimed at causing reputational harm to the company. "Gorbachev has a mostly representative functions, - he stressed. - After the departure of the man himself lived, played tennis, he was fine. And then the money ran out. First, he demanded $ 100 million, then reduced the amount to order. There is no doubt that Gorbachev did not have legal documents, able to confirm at least some ego right to the shares. " A former top managers "Fosagro" believes that Gorbachev was left with nothing, "perhaps because the left and since then did not do anything."
Sychev have a dramatic turning point in his career took place in February 2013. He says Igor Antoshin forced him to leave the company, "threatens to fire me for any article, he said Guriev supposedly hates me, and when we meet in the corridor, is experiencing extremely negative emotions. I wrote a statement. For just one day I was fired, even things did not have time to collect. Antoshin said: create offshore, Pasha Strukov will help you, and we will pay. "

Now "Fosagro" according to Sychev, denies link with Strukov, dismissed in 2005. Sychev claims that he promised to transfer $ 13 million in the first quarter of 2013 and to transfer 1% of the shares in the latter. But there was a settlement at the end of the year, and he received only $ 5 million. At the same time, says Sychev, within a year after discharge, he went on to perform certain duties of the former. Relations with Antoshina soured him in August 2014: "He said that I'm not equal to nothingI prove it. "

After a couple of months Sychev has written an official letter to the members of the Board of Directors and the auditors' Fosagro, "but received no answer. Soon, however, the director of his company's offshore Verlox International Ltd Portmann said that these funds came under the loan agreement. In September 2015 Sychev has received a letter dated retroactively from Seychelles offshore Parmas Corporation (without specifying the return e-mail address, telephone and fax numbers) with the requirement to return the listed loan money. Sychev Then he took over as director of his offshore company, filed a lawsuit in the court of Zurich and wrote a letter to the Russian law enforcement agencies.

"Who is Sychev? - Said a source close to the leadership "Fosagro". - A man headed the tax department of the three workers were middle managers in business management did not participate and thus believes that the company has beaten off all the tax claim. The Company is not entitled to the shares of each manager to encourage interest. He was never satisfied with the status, remuneration, scope of authority, could not openly realize their ambitionsour friendly team. " But Gorbachev, and Sychev sure they are right. "I act independently and on their own behalf. Expenses paid financial and legal company, which expects a positive result ", - says the first. "For me, no one is sure. Still, $ 5 million paid me ", - says the second.

This story is from the same category of disputes as the sensational trial of Berezovsky and Abramovich in London, only a lower rank. The investigation of ingenious schemes and oral agreements, on which to build large Russian business. The strange case end with under a not very obvious evidence base is unknown. According to a source close to the leadership "Fosagro", "if it turns out that the company caused the damage, it allows for the involvement of the initiators of the legal liability of the charges. The company does not rule out the possibility that the case will be dismissed and the plaintiffs demand to compensate the cost of the legal profession. "

According to the claim of Gorbachev's first meeting was scheduled for 16 September. Shortly before the defendantsNotice of claim, submitted an application to the Prosecutor General of Cyprus to terminate criminal proceedings due to lack of legal grounds. The case was postponed. At the time of the article, it has not yet taken place.