The owner of the once fourth producer of vodka in the Russian Federation, Crystal-Lefortovo Group of Companies, Pavel Smetana, may also lose his agricultural business, the Global Eco pork producer. The holding faces bankruptcy due to a corporate conflict, where Sberbank and VTB may be on different sides.
The situation around the Global Eco agricultural holding became known from a statement by its beneficiary Pavel Smetana to the regional Ministry of Internal Affairs. Kommersant has a copy of the document. The fact of filing the application was confirmed by Mr. Smetana. According to its own data, Global Eco manages 19 thousand hectares of land in the Kursk region and Mordovia, also includes complexes with a capacity of up to 45 thousand tons of pork and a meat processing enterprise up to 40 thousand tons of products per year. Pavel Smetana owns 85.07% of the head structure of Global Eco LLC through DP Holding LLC. The rest is with the Finnish Global NG Oy. In August 2018, a monitoring procedure was introduced at DP Holding at the statement of VTB, and in February 2019, bankruptcy proceedings were opened. The company's debt to the bank is about 1 billion rubles, follows from court documents. The largest creditor of DP Holding is the investment company Axis Investments JSC from St. Petersburg (4 billion rubles).
Pavel Smetana is known as the owner of the Crystal-Lefortovo group, which was once the fourth producer of vodka in Russia (brands Old Moscow, Winter Road, Festive, etc.). But the combination of sales in 2017 with the Status groups (the brands Kind Bear, Kalina Krasnaya), the beneficiary of which was the former head of the Rosalkogolregulirovanie Igor Chuyan, led to the collapse of the business. Crystal-Lefortovo stopped the plants, and the group's companies went into bankruptcy proceedings.
As stated in the statement of Mr. Smetana, since March 2019, the bankruptcy trustee of DP Holding Alexander Masyakin, as part of a group of individuals, has been taking deliberate actions to depreciate Global Eco's assets “in order to gain control” over the holding’s assets. From April to July 2019, Alexander Masyakin, without any public position towards the leaders and employees of Global Eco, changed the executive body of the company, having registered the management for Mitprom LLC, continues Pavel Smetana. Until July 4, the businessman himself was the CEO of Global Eco. Mitprom is controlled and led by Gennady Nikulshin.
Against this background, the overwhelming majority of Global Eco lenders submitted repayment requirements, which led to a liquidity crisis. Since July 8, the holding has been operating on the verge of stopping operations, Mr. Smetana writes. As he notes, in response to this, the main creditor Sberbank decided to apply for bankruptcy of the holding’s structures. But the “criminal group” falsified the debt of Global Eco companies to individuals who demanded bankruptcy of enterprises in order to delay the entry into the Sberbank business, follows from a statement by Pavel Smetana. He asks to conduct an audit and bring to justice Alexander Masyakin, his assistant Ivan Sbitnev and Gennady Nikulshin under several articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, including Fraud. The Ministry of Internal Affairs did not answer questions from Kommersant.
The representative of the bankruptcy trustee of DP Holding Tatyana Lavrenova assures that he acts in accordance with the bankruptcy law in the interests of all creditors. The removal of Pavel Smetana was necessary to preserve the Global Eco assets in the bankruptcy estate, before that, during the audit, facts of falsification of documents were revealed, she says. The accusation of deliberately delaying bankruptcy, Ms. Lavrenova considers absurd: "The bankruptcy trustee is interested in completing the process as soon as possible."
Sberbank today is seeking the imposition of interim measures in the framework of the bankruptcy of Global Eco structures. According to the court, Sberbank believes that the change in the CEO of Global Eco has led to repeated attempts to intervene in the activities of subsidiaries, illegally blocking accounts and worsening the situation of companies. Forward Legal lawyer Danil Bukharin does not exclude that we may be talking about a conflict between creditors of DP Holding and Sberbank and the parties will have to prove their position in court. VTB and the owner of Axis Investments Alexei Tot do not comment on this. Sberbank reported that they act in the framework of protecting their interests.