As it became known to Kommersant, the Thirteenth Arbitration Court of Appeal in St. Petersburg upheld the decision to issue writs of execution and to recover from the artistic director of two theaters Vladimir Kekhman about 7.4 billion rubles in favor of three creditors. He tried to appeal this decision, believing that the court did not take into account the amounts received from other debtors, but to no avail. Earlier, Mr. Kekhman, in the past a large fruit supplier, was involved in a criminal case, but escaped liability due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. His debts totaled about 20 billion rubles, and some time ago he was declared bankrupt in England and Russia. Lenders intend to continue searching for Mr. Kekhman's assets.
The Thirteenth Arbitration Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the lower instance on the issuance of writs of execution and recovery from the artistic director of the St. Petersburg Mikhailovsky Theater and the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater Vladimir Kekhman about 7.4 billion rubles, thus rejecting the complaint of his lawyers.
Recall that in December last year, the Arbitration Court of St. Petersburg, after the relevant decision of the Supreme Court of Russia, considered the applications of a number of Mr. Kekhman's largest creditors - BM Bank, Sberbank, Promsvyazbank, Pulkovo Trading Company and Aquamarine LLC as the legal successor of Uralsib Bank. All of them asked for a writ of execution and large sums to be collected from Mr. Kekhman. Pulkovo trading company with requirements for 900 million rubles. was refused in connection with the termination of its activities, and the court did not consider the claim of BM-Bank, since the same court had already issued a ruling against him earlier on the compulsory collection of 11.2 billion rubles from the debtor. The rest of the claims in the amount of 7.4 billion, 4.3 billion of which falls on Sberbank, the arbitration court satisfied.
A couple of months later, the same court issued a writ of execution for the collection of 229 million rubles from the artistic director of two theaters to Rosbank. Meanwhile, Mr Kekhman's lawyers have appealed against the previous decision.
Our position in the appeal against the judicial act was based on the fact that the banks, when filing claims in court, did not take into account all payments they received from the main debtors, ”representatives of Vladimir Kekhman explained to Kommersant.
They noted that the banks' claims were formed on the basis not of their client's personal debts, but of his guarantees for the main debtors. “In our opinion, the courts still had to investigate the extent to which the debts were repaid to the banks by the main debtors, but the bankruptcy procedure was completed without release from obligations, and this was the basis for the banks to go to court,” the artistic director's lawyers said. According to them, creditors could receive partial satisfaction and allegedly received it from the main debtors, including in the framework of their bankruptcy cases. “This also applies to foreign companies, for which a guarantee was provided, but all these facts were not verified, and the amount of the debt was determined without taking into account the essential facts,” the representatives of Mr. Kekhman believe.
He himself told Kommersant that he agreed with the “formal position” of his lawyers, but he did not have an answer to the question of why banks are still taking such a tough stance towards him.
It should be noted that Vladimir Kekhman can appeal the refusal to satisfy his complaint once again in the arbitration court of the North-Western District. Meanwhile, Sberbank told Kommersant that they were satisfied with the ruling. “The writ of execution has been received, and in the near future an application will be filed against the debtor Vladimir Kekhman to initiate enforcement proceedings in the amount of 4.3 billion rubles,” the press service of the credit institution explained. VTB Group is and will continue to carry out measures to collect debts from Mr. Kekhman by all available methods in accordance with the law, ”the press service of VTB said in turn.
Recall that before becoming artistic director of the Mikhailovsky Theater and the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater, Vladimir Kekhman was known as a businessman. As the head of the JFC group of companies, he was engaged in large supplies of fruits to Russia from abroad, he was even called the banana king.
The problems of Mr. Kekhman's structures began after they stopped servicing loans received from a number of the largest banks in 2010-2011. In total, the JFC group owes about 20 billion rubles.
Approximately the same debt was registered by Vladimir Kekhman himself as a beneficiary of his companies and a guarantor for loans. As Kommersant reported, in 2012, a businessman became a defendant in a criminal case on particularly large fraud in the field of lending (part 4 of article 159.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and the legalization of funds obtained by criminal means (article 174.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). At first, it was investigated in St. Petersburg, but then it was transferred to the central office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Despite the great resonance and huge amounts of missing loans, Mr. Kekhman and his alleged accomplices from among the former top managers of the "banana empire" were not only not placed in jail, but even restricted in their movements.
Vladimir Kekhman himself, who regularly appeared when summoned by the investigator, always categorically denied his guilt. He did not agree with the version of the investigation that the top managers of JFC "did not intend to fulfill their obligations", they were withdrawing funds to other projects, in particular development projects. Mr. Kehman argued that he had not committed anything criminal.
After the collapse and bankruptcy of the company, Mr. Kekhman announced that he had long since retired from the business, transferred it to the trust management of partners, and he himself went into the world of theater.
At the same time, Vladimir Kekhman went through a personal bankruptcy procedure both in England and in Russia, after which he repeatedly announced that he had no property and assets. However, this did not prevent him from leading a bohemian lifestyle, traveling abroad, being a regular at social events, etc. Three years ago, the criminal prosecution of the former businessman was discontinued - the charge was reclassified for illegally obtaining a loan (Article 176 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), statute of limitations which has already expired. As Kommersant reported, the case was closed with the consent of all the defendants for non-rehabilitating circumstances.
However, despite the personal bankruptcy, the arbitration court refused to release Vladimir Kekhman from debts. But the issuance of writs of execution required a special decision of the Supreme Court and a revision of previously adopted judicial acts.
Sources of Kommersant in financial circles have repeatedly stated their suspicions that Mr. Kekhman might have hidden some of his assets.
This was partly confirmed two years ago during the proceedings in the High Court of London, where BM Bank applied. According to his statement, the English justice ruled that Vladimir Kekhman had received two loans for $ 140 million at one time with the help of falsification of documents and fraud, deciding to recover this amount from him. The English judge, noting the facts of concealment of assets and data, called the Russian theatrical figure "an unscrupulous, dishonest and unsatisfactory defendant," inclined to "invent facts" and "unimaginable explanations." Even before bankruptcy, creditors managed to sell some of Vladimir Kekhman's property as part of enforcement proceedings, including real estate in Pushkin and cars for a total of 35 million rubles. And after all the bankruptcies and foreclosures, they have received about 1.1 billion rubles so far, which is about 6% of the total debt.
As part of the personal bankruptcy of Mr. Kekhman, he managed to get small amounts by selling his cufflinks, a portrait and other little things, and the main source of penalties was withholding part of the salary (about 17 million rubles) as artistic director of two theaters - the posts of their director, which he held earlier. he, as a bankrupt, had to leave.