At the request of the Federal Tax Service (FNS), on two accounts of the company AS RUS Media, Forbes publishers, all operations on accounts in Otkrytiye Bank and in Kommerzbank (Eurasia) have been suspended, as follows from the system of informing banks about the processing of electronic documents on the FTS website.
Until the fall of 2015 Forbes in Russia was published by the German Axel Springer. Last September, due to new restrictions on foreigners in the media, the company sold assets in Russia to businessman Alexander Fedotov. The publishing house ACMG was founded by Fedotov in 2008. ACMG also publishes Numero, L'Officiel, GEO, SNC, OK!, GALA biography magazines, etc. The holding does not disclose financial indicators. According to SPARK-Interfax, in 2015 the revenue of AS Rus Media (the company that founded the magazines issued by ACMG) amounted to 767.8 million rubles, a net loss of 125 million rubles.
The database indicates that the actions were suspended on March 15, 2017 on two accounts in banks whose identification numbers correspond to the numbers of Otkrytiye and Commerzbank (Eurasia). The representative of Otkrytiye refused to comment, the phone calls to Commerzbank on Friday were not replied. ACMG spokeswoman Oksana Meneylyuk told Vedomosti that "all payments on our legal entities are in normal mode."
The Tax Code stipulates that the Federal Tax Service has the right to suspend all transactions on accounts in the event that the company has not systematically paid taxes or filed tax returns. About the fact that the Forbes publisher has frozen accounts, previously was announced by a source in the media market. According to him, the reason for the blocking was the non-payment of taxes from December 2016. Monthly tax deductions of the company can be about 5 million rubles, as far as he knows.
The day before the accounts were blocked on March 14, the chief accountant Lyubov Valova resigned from "AS Russian Media". "As a pensioner, I have the right to do this," she said. She refused to speak about the reasons for dismissal, but noted that she has no claims to the former employer.
These are not the only financial difficulties for Fedotov's companies. Recently, he had difficulties with paying license fees to the owner of the license for the magazine - American company Forbes Media LLC, as two sources close to the magazine told Vedomosti. The publisher was supposed to pay the license holder $500,000 back in January, but in fact the payment was transferred only on March 13, Vedomosti's interlocutors said.
A week before, the Russian publisher of Forbes, was visited by a delegation of Forbes Media headed by the executive director of the American company Mike Federly and Tom Woolf, who is responsible for the company's interaction with license holders in other countries. It is the concern over Fedotov's financial condition that caused this visit, Vedomosti sources say.
In addition, the publisher of Forbes did not make another payment to Reso Guarantee, which provided private medical insurance to the employees, told Vedomosti several sources close to Forbes. Because of this, for the first time since the start of work of the Forbes edition in Russia, its employees were left without private medical insurance. Deputy CEO of Reso Guarantee Igor Ivanov told Vedomosti that this year 124 employees had to be insured. The payment company was supposed to transfer in January, but after a payment delay of 1.5 months, the insurance company decided to terminate the contract with Forbes. According to a source in one of the insurance companies, the amount of such a contract can be about 5 million rubles per year.
At the end of last year, two former employees of Forbes already filed a lawsuit against the former employer. The former vice-president of this company, Natalia Gandurina, filed a lawsuit to the Presnensky District Court of Moscow against the "Art Trading Portfolio Management" (the managing company of the publishing house ACMG). The essence of the conflict, she refused to disclose. Since last December, former journalist of Forbes Elena Zubova has also been trying to sue the entities of ACMG. She filed a lawsuit in the Khamovnichesky District Court of Moscow against "Art Trading Portfolio Management" on the protection of honor and dignity, as well as compensation for moral harm. Zubova believes that she was wrongfully dismissed, and requires compensation for moral damage in the amount of 1.3 million rubles.
Fedotov did not answer the calls of Vedomosti's correspondents.