The London International Court of Arbitration (LCIA) banned Artyom Avetisyan’s Finkvn Holdings company to continue litigation in the Arbitration Court of the Amur Region. “Vedomosti” got acquainted with the copy of the decision, two people close to different sides of the dispute confirmed its authenticity.
“Finvizh Holdings” in the court of the Amur region is trying to achieve the realization of a call option of a 9.99% stake in Vostochny Bank. At the beginning of 2018, this package was to be sold to the Cyprus Evison Holdings, through which Baring Vostok and Russia Partners investment funds control 51.6% of Vostochny, but the option was not exercised. "Finvizhn" asked the court to arrest the controversial package, and also to prohibit the additional issue of Vostochny shares for 5 billion rubles.
The Amur Court, at the request of the Evison representative, adjourned the meeting until April 1, 2019, and transmitted Interfax from the courtroom. The Cyprus company requested an emergency meeting of the London arbitration, it took place on March 23.
What did the London arbitration decide?
LCIA ruled that it was prohibited for Avetisyan’s company to continue litigation in the Amur Region arbitration on the implementation of the call option and any other rights arising from this agreement. The ban is maintained until other orders are received from the LCIA, the document says. In addition, “this order does not prohibit Finvizn’s company to file a claim on the price or date of issue of Vostochny Bank shares.
At the same time, the ban on legal proceedings is valid under the condition that Evison undertakes not to sell and not to make any transactions with the optional package of shares, stated in the LCIA order. The only exception is that a Cyprus company, by agreement with Finvizhn, can deposit these shares into an escrow account. A spokesman for Baring Vostok confirmed that Evison is committed not to alienate the controversial 9.99% of the shares.
In addition, LCIA allowed Evison to apply to an English court if Finvision violates the aforementioned ban, because, in the opinion of the court, “in view of the actions committed by Finvision, this case is truly exceptional (truly exeptional)”.
Baring Vostok is satisfied with the decision of the court, said his representative. “Vedomosti” sent questions to Artem Avetisyan and his company “Fvinvizh”. Sherzod Yusupov (partner Avetisyan, owner of a 4.82% stake in Vostochny, who wrote a statement to the TFR and the FSB, which resulted in the arrest of Baring Vostol founder Michael Calvi and five others), who was also listed among the respondents in the LCIA decision, declined to comment .
“Finvizhn” plans to initiate a re-discussion in the LCIA, said a person close to Avetisyan’s company.
Where to sue
The option agreement assumed that all disputes would be handled by the LCIA. However, since then, Russian law has changed, and decisions of arbitration courts will be recognized in Russia only if the court has accreditation received from the Russian government. LCIA does not have this status.
The agreement "Finvizhn" and Evison, it was stated that if the LCIA does not meet the requirements of Russian law, then each of them can replace the LCIA with a different court, which would comply with Russian laws. On April 18, 2018, Evison sent a notice in which she stated that until February 1, 2020, the LCIA could not be replaced by another court, the Finvizh lawsuit was told to the Arbitration Court of the Amur Region.
“Finvizhn” did not agree with this and demanded to consider disputes in the International Commercial Arbitration (ICAC) at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (he has accreditation). Evison did not recognize the competence of the ICAC, so Finvizhn decided to appeal to the Arbitration Court of the Amur Region, the region where the bank is registered.