Last Friday four executives of the company "Eurasia Logistics" were charged: Investigative Committee of the RF MIA alleges they participated in the theft of credits amounting to $ 1.5 billion and real estate valued at $ 2.8 billion from the Kazakh bank BTA. Investigation considers the former head of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov (now located in London) as the organizer of the fraud,.
The top managers of "Eurasia Logistics" were arrested last week and indicted in a pre-trial detention center N 5, where they are kept at the moment. The procedure took about 1.5 hours. The general director and co-owner of the company, Alexander Volkov, head of the legal department Vorotyntseva Denis, Director of Economics Alexey Belov and finance director Artem Bondarenko have been incriminated the art. 159, 165, 174.1 and 327 of the Criminal Code (large-scale fraud, money laundering, forgery and property damage). According to investigators, at the end of January 2009 the main shareholder of the Kazakh bank BTA Mukhtar Ablyazov learnt of the decision of the state Kazakhstan bodies to nationalize the bank. Then, as investigators say, he instructed his subordinates to exchange part of the loan portfolio of the Kazakh bank BTA to bad loans issued earlier by the same name of "BTA Bank", working in Moscow. The Moscow Bank also belonged to Mr. Ablyazov.
In order to accomplish this fraud, on January 30, 2009 unidentified persons made assignment agreements, decisions of the banks' credit committees, approving the transaction, and so on; but on February, 2 Chairman of the Kazakh bank BTA Roman Solodchenko having not been dedicated to the idea of his boss, blocked the transaction. Then, according to investigators, Mr. Ablyazov created a criminal group, which included the now arrested four leaders of OOO "Eurasia Logistics", as well as the general director of OOO "IPG Eurasia” Igor Kononkov and chairman of the board of directors of the company Arthur Trofimov (the latter two are wanted as well as Mr. Ablyazov). Note that, according to the investigation, all those companies also belonged to Mr. Ablyazov.
Mr. Volkov and Mr.Vorotyntsev, as it is said in the case, forged the signature of the representative of the Kazakh BTA Bank, made agreements on avoidance of the pledge agreements concluded by the bank with a dozen of its borrowers, including ZAO "Russian Property”, OOO " InvestHoldingstroy", OOO "Stroy-elite”, OOO "The project operator of “Bylovo", etc. Afterwards, Artem Belov and Alexei Bondarenko, who also held posts in the "Eurasia Logistics" and at the same time served as general directors of ZAO "Russian real estate" and OOO "Stroy-elites", signed the fakes on behalf of those companies-creditors, and then registered them. As a result, land in the Domodedovo district, estimated at $ 2.8 billion and kept in the bank as collateral, were abducted. At the same time on behalf of Mr. Ablyazov, as it is said in the case, the same persons who manufactured 24 false assignment agreements on 30 January 2009, and withdrew several loans totaling 776.4 million rubles., ? 18,9 million and $ 1.4 billion to the dozens of offshore front companies with their help. Those loans were also abducted.
In addition, Mukhtar Ablyazov might lose another asset: at the suit by the bank the shares of the companies owning the seaport Vitino in the White Sea, and belonging to Mr. Ablyazov and his partner Maksim Pukhlikov - were arrested. The bank alleges that a loan of $ 120 million, through which the partners bought the port in 2009, had been obtained illegally, so it requires the transfer of the port in its property. If BTA Bank does get Vitino, the port is likely to be resold to Russian oil companies in the future, experts say.
On February 11, Commercial Branch of the Supreme Court of the Royal British under the claim of BTA Bank arrested shares of the companies owning property of the seaport Vitino (the Murmansk region), and structures owned by Mukhtar Ablyazov. The petition and the testimony of deputy president of BTA Bank - Sergey Yeltsov - alleged that Mr. Ablyazov and former head of the Moscow office of the bank - Ildar Hazhaev - illegally had approved the disbursement of a loan to Dutch company Chrysopa Holding for the acquisition of the port for $ 120 million. Those funds were transferred to the Cyprus company Usarel Investment Ltd for the acquisition of companies White Sea Complex, Northen Operations, OOO "N-Terminal", OOO "Maritime specialized port Vitino”, and other owner of the port facilities in Vitino.
In February 2009 it became known that Vitino was acquired by structures of the trader "Rusneftehim", which co-owners are considered to be Maxim Pukhlikov and Sergei Sheklanov. According to BTA Bank "Rusneftehim" actually manages terminals in Vitino, Mr. Pukhlikov through a chain of offshore companies owns 49% of the company Lux Investment Ltd (owns Usarel) and other companies in the port Vitino, while Mukhtar Ablyazov owns 51%.
Mr. Yeltsov believes that BTA Bank loan of $ 120 million, due to which the gentlemen Ablyazov and Pukhlikov bought Vitino, was actually a cover to disguise the theft of the bank in favor of Usarel and its parent company Lux". He believes the conclusion of the loan agreement to be an interested-party-transaction; thus, Mukhtar Ablyazov as the beneficiary of Lux had to report to the Board of Directors that it should better have considered the deal in absence of the interested stakeholders. In addition, the loan turned out to be unsecured: the loan agreement contains a pledge of 100% of Usarel and acquisition of the port companies as a secure, but there is no such a contract in the documentation, BTA Bank claims. In August 2008 Mr. Hazhaev signed a collateral agreement (Kommersant also has a copy) in which there was no contract period indicated. The bank insists in its suit on returning the property of Vitino which had been acquired for the stolen funds.
Source: newspaper "Kommersant» № 53 / M (4353) on 29.03.2010 and № 52 (4352) on 26/03/2010