20% of OOO "Marina Gardens" will be put up for sale – this is the developer of the construction project of the oceanarium in Moscow, located on Poklonnaya Hill. This is a company controlled by ex-owner of Kazakhstan's BTA Bank, Mukhtar Ablyazov. That is the decision by the court ruled on the bank’s claim against offshore of its former owner, who owed the BTA about $ 22.5 million. It was the sum of the starting price determined in the sale of shares of Oceanarium. The market considered the price excessive.
Late last year, the Moscow Arbitration Court decided to arrest 20% share of OOO "Marine Gardens" belonging to Cyprus Legendcatch Services Ltd (it invested in the building of Oceanarium on Poklonnaya Hill). This package is in the mortgage at the Kazakh AO “BTA-Bank”, to which the offshore owed $ 22.5 million (see "Kommersant" on December 9, 2009). Legendcatch unsuccessfully tried to challenge this decision. A month ago the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal decided to put up 20% of the "Marine Gardens" for sale at public auction and se ta starting price of the lot at $ 22.5 million (Kommersant possesses a copy of the court decision). The representative of BTA Bank, Victoria Shen reiterated that "the court granted the petition in favor of the bank."
Legendcatch, which is controlled by the former owner of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov, owns 95,1% in Marine Gardens, the remaining percentage belongs to OAO "Moscow Trade House” (100% is owned by Moscow City Property Department; DIGM). Yesterday they failed to receive comments by Mr. Ablyazov: the businessman did not answer the Kommersant calls.
As it follows from the trial, BTA Bank extended a credit to Legendcatch in 2007, when Mr. Ablyazov was still the owner of the BTA. The borrower was to return those funds by 2015 under the contract; they were issued exclusively under the purchase of 20% "Marine Gardens" from the third parties. But the court found out that Legendcatch purchased this share only for 50 thousand rubles. Legendcatch loaned part of the credit to another offshore - Denmar Essets. BTA was able to prove in court that Legendcatch had had no right to do so, because the credit was targeted.
BTA’s debt exceeded $ 10 billion, thus it does not intend to buy this stake, according to a source of Kommersant at the bank. Representative of DIGM, Natalya Bykova also stated that the city is not ready to bid as the project is frozen. Initially, the Oceanarium at Poklonnaya Hill planned to be implemented in 2007, but in August last year, Moscow Mayor's Office extended the implementation of this investment contract in 2013.
According to managing partner of the Blackwood - Konstantin Kovalyov, 20% of Marine Gardens can cost about $ 18 million ($ 500 per 1 sq. meter of projected area of the object, which should be around 180 thousand square meters in the case of aquarium). "The developer calculated that the net income from the operation of the oceanarium might be $ 10 million a year", Mr. Kovalyov knows. According to him, now there is hardly an investor who will agree to buy non-controlling stake in Marina Gardens at the price established by the court. "Buyers may appear, if this package will be implemented by the Dutch scheme (where bidders can play in lowering the starting price. Kommersant)”, expert believes. Before the crisis, the investment in the construction of the oceanarium was estimated at $ 480 million.
In Russia, Mr. Ablyazov looses not o nly the developer's assets. In the spring the BTA managed to seize the shares of seaport Vitino (Murmansk region) owned by the businessman, the bank gave a loan of $ 120 million for its purchase (see "Kommersant" on March, 26). Earlier, the sources of Kommersant which are close to Mr Ablyazov and BTA Bank reported that the total debt of businessman to the bank was up to $ 800 million. In the midst of crisis, the bank was about to state corporate bankruptcy and the government decided to nationalize it. A criminal case was instituted against Mr. Ablyazov who is now living in London. Now the investigative committee at the Interior Ministry presented a number of charges under the application of BTA Bank on the top managers of IPG “Eurasia" and "Eurasia Logistics" (controlled by Mr Ablyazov) of defrauding the bank loans amounting to $ 1.5 billion and real estate valued at $ 2,8 billion (see "Kommersant" on September, 2)
Source: Kommersant № 162 (4462) on 03/09/2010