Midland Group partners are suing each other in London over the Moscow projects

Alex Schneider believes Eduard Shifrin didn't take into account the Tsar's Garden and Lobachevsky 118 when dividing the business.
Businessman Alex Schneider appealed to the London international arbitration court with claims to the former partner of the company Midland Group Eduard Shifrin, told two people close to the different parties in the court. According to them, Schneider believes that during the division of assets between the Midland Group owners the Moscow's development projects Lobachevsky 118 (264 000 sq. m) in Ramenki and Tsar's Garden (84 700 sq. m) on the Sofia embankment were not taken into account.

Shifrin and Schneider decided to split the business during the crisis of 2008. As the businessmen told Vedomosti back then, the former was to inherit all foreign assets of the group (for example, construction projects with Trump International Hotel & Tower hotel and resort in the Dominican Republic, as well as a FC Maccabi), and the latter - in Russia. At that time, the portfolio of Midland Development was about 1 million square meters of commercial and 600 000 sq. m of residential and hotel space, including business centers of Midland Plaza on the Arbat, Diamond Hall on Olympic Avenue, South Port near the Kozhuhovskaya metro station, as well as shopping centers in the Strip Mall regions. Partners also were to divide funds in the company's accounts in the amount of $295.2 million; the amount was later reduced to $185 million.

Schneider believes that his partner in the company misled him about the project Lobachevsky 118, said a person close to Schneider; Shifrin told Schneider that the project was handed over as collateral to Saratov OOO Trading complex Solnechny (TCS). TCS was a partner of Midland Development in the construction of a network of centers of Strip Mall; Midland Development did not fulfill its project obligations to the TCS and to avoid litigation was forced to transfer Business Master (owned the rights for the project on the Lobachevsky street) in pledge to TCS. However, from a TCS letter Schneider learned that he had not received the company Business Master and had not demanded to pass it. Schneider also found out, as a person close to him said, that the owner of this company became Cyprus Dayforth Trading Limited, which sold 10% stake in Business Master to development company Leader Invest (part of AFK Sistema).

Business Master was sold by AFK Sistema for $58 million, as follows from the letter of the former general director of Business Master Peter Hanus, obtained by Vedomosti. Hanus confirmed Vedomosti that he had written such a letter. In fact, AFK Sistema paid only half the amount of the transaction, so Shifrin's entity still owns 50% of the project, says a person close to one of the parties in the transaction.

A person close to Shifrin, said that the Lobachevsky 118 project had been acquired by Midland Development in 2004, and that it was ineffectually and costly managed by Schneider. The site had long been in such a state that it was impossible to build anything there. Schifrin decided to buy back the asset from the partner for real money, the transaction took place under English law, confirms the source of Vedomosti, and the project was later successfully implemented in conjunction with AFK Sistema. According to him, until 2015 Schneider had no complains on this issue, claims appeared for some reason at the very moment when the project came to a certain stage and began to be a great value.

Steel claim

Schneider also believes that Shifrin deceived him with the commission of $100 million that was to be paid to third parties on the sale of Zaporizhstal, said a person close to the plaintiff. All procedures for the transaction received corporate approval and all agreements with third parties were fully settled and paid, answers a person close to Shifrin.

On completion of the Lobachevsky 118 project, it should be worth more than $300 million, estimates a person close to the plaintiff.

Proceeds from the sale of apartments in the building on the Lobachevsky can make more than 20 billion rubles ($344.8 million at the exchange rate as of February 14), calculated a board member of Best-Novostroy Irina Dobrokhotova and Director of the Department of Est-a-Tet Vladimir Bogdanyuk.

Another project, which, according to Schneider, was not taken into account during the division of Midland Group, as says the person close to him, was Tsar's Garden.

This complex belongs to Sberbank Capital: in 2011 the company attracted Midland Development into the project as a co-investor. In fact, an agreement was concluded in 2009, when there was a division of property between the shareholders of Midland, said a person close to Schneider. A person close to Shifrin, however, states that Schneider has never had to do anything with Tsar's Garden, and never invested in it. A person close to one of the participants of the Tsar's Garden project, says that Shifrin has no shares there: he was to receive 25% of the project after the implementation. In 2011, the same was said by General Director of Sberbank Capital Ashot Khachaturyanets.

Implementation of the project has been unfolding for some time; therefore, Shifrin has the right for a share in it, according to a person close to the plaintiff.

How much Schneider appreciated the quarter of Tsar's Garden is unknown. The project declaration stated that the total revenue in 2015 should reach 16 billion rubles. This figure is still relevant today, said Deputy Director General for Development of Hospitality Industry CBRE Stanislav Ivashkevich.

Shifrin and Schneider confirmed the legal proceedings, but without the details: the information is confidential. Shifrin said that neither Sistema nor Sberbank Capital have anything in common with the dispute.

Representatives of AFK Sistema, Leader Invest (developer division of AFK) and Sberbank declined to comment. Attempts to contact a TCS representative failed. The only company with that name according to SPARK has been inactive since 2010

Partnerships with developers often end in litigations and conflict. Thus, the Alexander Chigirinsky's company in Russia and Cyprus is suing the former partner of Evolution Tower tower, shareholder of Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine Viktor Rashnikov and his partner Nader Nader, including the issue of dividends from the sale of the project. Co-owner of Capital Group Vladislav Doronin was at law with the partner in the network of elite resorts Aman Omar Amanat in London and New York due to violation of the shareholders' agreement and fraud - and has retained control.

The statute of limitations in the case most likely is not broken, applications are accepted by the court, not only at the time of the event itself, but also at a time when the applicant learns of the violation of rights, says the chairman of the Bar "Starinskiy, Korchago and Partners" Yevgeny Korchago. Court in London is expensive, the losing party must compensate the legal costs of the winning one, so it makes sense for them to make peace.