Mamut from Cyprus gets new Nginx owners

The dispute over the rights to the largest Nginx web server, founded by immigrants from Rambler, went beyond Russia. The Cyprus company Lynwood, associated with Alexander Mamut, has sued the startup owner, its founders and investors.
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The Cypriot company Lynwood Investments CY Limited sued the Nginx web server, its current U.S. owner F5 Networks, the founders of Nginx, and several others, according to a press release posted on the website of the public relations company Cision on behalf of Lynwood Investments. Telegram channel banksta drew attention to the release. Lynwood confirmed to Forbes that it filed a lawsuit on June 8. It requires damages of at least $ 750 million, the release said.

Lynwood claims rights to Nginx, based on the technology of which several hundred websites operate on the Internet. Lynwood has received claim rights from the Rambler Group. The Financial Times last year wrote that the beneficiary of the Cypriot company is billionaire Alexander Mamut F 42. He owns 46.5% in the Rambler Group, and Sberbank owns the same amount.

The lawsuit was filed with the US District Court for Northern California in San Francisco. In the lawsuit, Lynwood claims that she, and not F5 Networks, Nginx or other defendants, is the legal owner of the rights to startup software, the press release said. Nginx in 2002 was created by programmers Igor Sysoev and Maxim Konovalov, who then worked in Rambler. Now the service is the world leader in the web server market; its technologies are put into operation, including such sites as Apple, Facebook and VKontakte. U.S. F5 Networks acquired a startup in March 2019 for $ 670 million.

In December, the Rambler Group reported a violation of its exclusive rights to a web server. On the same day, it became known about the searches in the startup’s office and at the home of its founders. According to Lynwood, she received information about Nginx in 2019 from an informant who currently lives in the United States. “In the course of the investigation, evidence was obtained that the former Rambler employees tried very hard to hide their plans and work in order to appropriate Nginx and monetize it for profit - without the knowledge of Rambler, its consent or participation,” the contents of the lawsuit are quoted in a press release.

In addition to F5 Networks, Nginx, Sysoev and Konovalov, the defendants in the lawsuit also include Andrei Alekseev, former Rambler employees Maxim Dunin and Gleb Smirnov, former Nginx top manager, and now F5 Networks Angus Robertson and California-based venture funds Runa Capital and E.Ventures.

Rambler Group declined to comment on Forbes. “Lynwood Investments and the Rambler Group were unable to achieve their goals in a criminal case against Nginx co-founders in Russia in a lawsuit based on similar insolvent claims. The investigation lasted several months, after which the investigation dismissed the case, finding no evidence against the Nginx co-founders. We are convinced that the charges against the group of defendants, including F5, contained in the new Lynwood lawsuit in the US Federal Court, are also insolvent, ”Forbes F5 Networks said. “The statements and demands are absolutely groundless, confirmation of this is the closure of the case in Russia due to the absence of a crime event,” Dmitry Chikhachev, managing partner of Runa Capital, told Forbes.

In April 2020, the Russian prosecutor's office found grounds for closing the Nginx case: it confirmed that there were violations of the law during pre-trial proceedings. The Office instructed the Moscow prosecutor to take measures to eliminate them and put before the investigators the question of dismissing the case. The Rambler Group itself officially requested to close the case. She said that she terminated the contract with Lynwood, and that now she can not conduct business on behalf of Rambler, but "retained the right to prove the loss and compensation in this case" in her own name and in her interests. “Rambler completely deleted itself from the list of victims in this case. Next, it will be the relationship between Lynwood and law enforcement, ”said a Rambler spokesman.

Lynwood then stated that it would continue to protect its legitimate interests in all jurisdictions, in the manner prescribed by law.