The High Court of England and Wales admitted that the discretionary trusts of ex-Senator Sergei Pugachev are pretendious, and all the assets transferred to them can be levied "as on the property of the banker," said the bankruptcy trustee Mezhprombank - Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) . DIA has been trying for years to prove that Pugachev owned these trusts. Pugachev used them to hide his property - including two objects in London and a villa on an island in the Caribbean, the DIA said. The court determined that Pugachev remained the sole beneficiary of the trust assets, although he denied it.
"Pugachev retained absolute control over assets because of his status as a protector of these trusts, which, among other things, enabled him to change trust trust managers if they stopped fulfilling his instructions," the DIA court decision transfers. Pugachev intended to use trusts as a means to mislead others, creating the appearance that the property did not belong to him, although he remained the owner of the assets, are the words of Judge Beers.
Pugachev does not see in the court's decision anything "unprecedented or sensational," but sees violations when it is adopted. "I am the main defendant in the case, and no one has notified me that such a court will be held, I did not participate in the process. Neither my lawyers nor I knew about it. We learned two days before the end of the trial, the procedural violations are obvious, "he told Kommersant-FM. "Trusts are New Zealand, they <...> are not subject to the jurisdiction of the English court. And I, as a citizen of France, also do not fall, "- emphasizes Pugachev.
The founder of the discretionary trust can change the structure and composition of the investment portfolio and decide who will benefit from them. This is not exactly a classical trust in which the beneficiary and the founder actually cease to be the owner of their property - in the case of Pugachev, the beneficiary controlled the trust, especially the ex-banker had the status of a protector, which implies control, says attorney Vladislav Kocherin from "Cocherin and Partners ".
Mezhprombank was declared bankrupt in November 2010. The DIA is trying to recover the property of an ex-banker to cover the debts of Mezhprombank (see chart). As of September 1, 2017, the bank owed more than 80 billion rubles, it has several hundred creditors. The members of the Pugachev family, according to the prospectus of one of the issues of Eurobonds of Mezhprombank, owned 81% of its shares. Pugachev controlled him through the New Zealand Trust OPK Trust Company, but the DIA and Pugachev trials are being conducted against five other trusts.
According to the representative of Pugachev, he was not notified of yesterday's hearing. In addition, the representative recalled, the basis for this suit was the Russian decision of April 30, 2015 on the involvement of Pugachev to subsidiary liability, which the Ninth Court of Appeal later found illegal. The DIA "concealed" this information from the English court, the representative of the ex-banker said: "Mr. Pugachev filed an application with the English court to recognize as illegal any attempts to recover money from him." The next meeting on this issue will be held in November.
The decisions of the High Court can be appealed to the Court of Appeal and then to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Tertychny Agabalyan's partner Ivan Tertychny notes: "In Pugachev's case, the court most likely relied on a number of earlier precedents that say that if the defendant does not contribute the court and does not disclose its assets, the court can oblige the defendant to prove that he does not have a relationship to the disputable assets. Obviously, Pugachev did not do it. " A similar story happened to the former owner of the Kazakhstani "BTA Bank" Mukhtar Ablyazov, who failed to prove to the English court that he does not own the real estate that he was associated with, Tertychny recalls.
Svetlana Tarnopolskaya, partner of the Yukov and partners bar association, says that "there will not be direct consequences in the form of recovery of property in the context of this claim for Pugachov," However, in the future, when it comes to executing the decision to bring Pugachev to subsidiary responsibility, was hidden behind the trusts, will also be foreclosed. " Therefore, of course, this court was resolved in favor of the DIA, she states.