A criminal case against Mikhail Voevodin, former general director of VSMPO-Avisma, was initiated in early August under Part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (fraud committed by an organized group or on an especially large scale). According to the data, the case was initiated at the initiative of the shareholders, who announced embezzlement in the titanium corporation. The Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Sverdlovsk region confirmed the initiation of the case.
The claim to arbitration was filed on September 9. VSMPO-Avisma demanded 4.07 billion rubles from Voevodin. This amount is the estimated damage that the corporation received as a result of transactions agreed by Voevodin in 2017-2019.
The settlement agreement was concluded on October 27. According to its terms, Voevodin transfers 1.95 billion rubles to Avisma's account within 47 days, and the corporation refuses to interpret this as an admission of the fact of losses, for which it demanded twice the amount from Voevodin. The corporation also does not interpret the settlement agreement as an admission of Vojvodin's guilt in incurring losses of $ 4.07 billion.
Not help or compensation. What?
The refusal of the initial claims in Avisma is explained by the fact that "the full amount from the property of the former general director cannot be reimbursed: other claims not related to the corporation have been brought against him." Avisma does not specify what these requirements are. Payment by the Voevodins of 1.95 billion rubles. the corporation calls compensation for losses, which a titanium manufacturer, who suffered from a lockdown in the aviation market, can receive immediately, and not after years of litigation.
The defense insists that the former CEO has long wanted to provide the corporation with gratuitous financial assistance, and this was taken into account when the parties agreed. Voevodin's lawyer said in court that for all 10 years of his work, he fulfilled his duties in good faith, did not cause any losses, and that the plaintiff refuses the initial requirements for this very reason. The plaintiff's representatives in court agreed with this. However, the payment to Avisma is 1.95 billion rubles. is neither financial assistance nor compensation for losses. In it is written that the transfer of this amount by Voevodin cannot be interpreted as compensation for losses and as an admission of his guilt for them. At the same time, the parties consider the dispute in the case to be fully and finally settled.
The representative of VSMPO-Avisma emphasized in a conversation with Ko that Mikhail Voevodin should pay off not with shares or other securities, but by depositing funds into the company's account. The corporation does not know where the former general director of VSMPO-Avisma got 1.95 billion rubles from. Voevodin's income as a general director could hardly have become a source of such a free amount, say the interlocutors of "Ko" in the industry. The balances of LLC PharmEco and the liquidated LLC PromInvestResurs, where he was until 2009 a participant and manager, respectively, are also not so large. Moreover, 24% of the pharmaceutical distributor PharmEco belongs to the family of the ex-Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Sergei Shmatko. However, the world states that "the size of the property owned by the defendant is sufficient to fulfill all existing obligations."
"Intermix" Khimki and Stavropol
Here Avisma's relations with contractors Interlink Metals and Chemicals and Intermix Met LLC, which were mentioned in the reports on the initiation of proceedings against Voevodin, are curious. Interlink Group is a Swiss titanium trader. In September, in a report from the arbitration court, the Ural Kommersant reported that in 2017-19, Avisma sold ferrotitanium and titanium chips to the Swiss by installments with a 30% discount and delivery at the expense of the seller. The shareholders from Rostec, who checked before the May dismissal of Voevodin, estimated the damage from these transactions at 3.8 billion rubles. Another 256 million rubles. the corporation received less as a result of transactions with LLC Intermix met, LLC Promindustriya and LLC Torgovo-industrial vector.
The company "Intermix met" produced fertilizers and scandium oxide for the nuclear industry on the basis of the Lermontov Hydrometallurgical Plant (HMP). The company and the plant itself were equally owned by two businessmen from the Moscow region of Khimki, childhood friends Sergei Makhov and Sergei Chak. In 2011, when world prices for uranium fell and prices for scandium rose, Rosatom decided to ramp up production of the rare earth metal. For this, 150 billion rubles were allocated under the state program.
Makhov and Chuck also decided to make money on scandium. They bought the Lermontovsky GMZ from the Property Ministry, took out a loan from Sberbank for 1.13 billion rubles. under financing guarantees under the same state program, we agreed with Mikhail Voevodin to supply from Avisma with chloride melt from titanium production, which contains 7.5% scandium. In 2016, Makhov Voevodin "deepest gratitude for the creativity of thinking" and "wonderful cooperation" - "the standard in the development of the industry." But by 2017, scandium prices fell by 40%, and the state program was curtailed. Lermontovskiy GMZ went bankrupt, almost leaving a single-industry town in the Stavropol Territory without heat and electricity. In 2018, the Makhov and Chak plant for debts was bought by Albert Avdolyan, close to Rostec. Now the authorities of the Stavropol Territory have unsuccessfully brought the Khimki businessmen to subsidiary liability.
In the history of Avisma, this is not the only combination of Khimki and Stavropol near Moscow with Rostec. The world's largest titanium corporation is 60% owned by the Cypriot offshore companies Jivanta Ventures Limited and Cador Enterprises Limited, which are associated with the main shareholder Mikhail Shelkov. Another 25% belongs to Rostec, and 5.27% belongs to ZAO Business Alliance Company, which is owned by the family of Dmitry Osmolovsky, a lawyer from Khimki. He is also a member of the Association of Alumni of the Presidential Program “Stavropol Union of Managers”.
The criminal case remains
Ko's interlocutors in the industry doubt that VSMPO-Avisma shareholders have not been aware of the corporation's transactions for such a long time. And the multimillion-dollar losses of its subsidiaries with an offshore ownership structure raise a general question about the routes of financial flows.
Settlement agreements on arbitration cases are often used as an excuse to end the criminal prosecution of the defendant, lawyers say, especially since no charges have been brought against Mikhail Voevodin. “An arbitration case cannot regulate a criminal case, but if the plaintiff has no claims against the defendant and the fact of the conclusion of an amicable agreement does not mean an admission of his guilt, this can play a role,” supposes the lawyer of the former general director Ilya Kotlyarov.
But in the story with Voevodin, the settlement agreement does not mean the termination of the criminal case. “It is impossible to terminate the case under Article 159 Part 4 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation even at the request of the applicant,” recalls the adviser to Saveliev, Batanov & Partners Yulia Mikhalchuk. - In addition, the applicant runs the risk of falling under Art. 306 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation on false denunciation. Therefore, we can say that there is no turning back here. But a variant is possible when the investigation issues a decision to terminate the criminal case for lack of corpus delicti, and no one will appeal against it. "