Arbitration Court of St. Petersburg and Leningrad region in late April denied the British company Ferngem Ltd's claim against OOO «Legius». Ferngem, headed and co-owned by businessman Sergey Lvov, asked to recognize a void transaction, due to which in October 2005, "Legius» bought from Ferngem 30% share of OOO "Petersburg City» for $ 6,000,000. The latter company is an investor in the project "Embankment of Europe", which was launched back in 2001 under the personal patronage of Vladimir Putin. The former top manager of VTB Shota Boterashvili is an entity associated with the challenged transaction.
Following this transaction, Legius resold the share, which ended up to be in VTB. According to SPARC by January 1, 2009, the bank controls 85% of the Petersburg City, 15% belongs to management of the company «Svinyin & Partners», owned by the head of IC «Okhta group» Vladimir Svinyin.
Structures of VTB entered the project "European Embankment» in May 2005 by buying 70% of the Petersburg City for $ 50 million from a group of LSR. The remaining 30%, according to Sergey Lvov, the bank has already received from OOO «Legius».
This company was established in August 2005 - 2 months prior to the transaction. It is noteworthy that in 2005 the company received "other income" in exactly at the amount of 10 million rubles, out of which 9.954 million rubles went to the "operation costs". In this regard, the St. Petersburg press published claims to Shota Boterashvili.
Thus, if the court had granted the petition by Ferngem, Sergey Lvov would have gotten the right to challenge all transactions with "St. Petersburg City» since 2006. As a result, the share of VTB in the project could have fallen to 70%, and even up to 55%.
To support his lawsuit Sergey Lvov said the deal with "Legiusom" was committed without the knowledge of the company. At the same time Sergey Lvov suggested VTB an optional settlement: he was ready to withdraw his lawsuit for $ 6 million.
However, the court found that OOO «Legius» has long been eliminated by removing the legal entity of USRLE. A liquidation, as the court considered, shall result in termination of all rights and obligations of legal entities without transferring them to others. On this basis, the claim was denied. Sergey Lvov has not yet said whether he would contest the court decision during the appeal.
For the first time, they started talking on the project "European Embankment» in 2003 after it had been taken under personal patronage of President Vladimir Putin. Then the little-known company "Petersburg City» owned by Sergey Lvov through offshore on the Isle of Man, quickly got all approvals in order to build up a land of military between the Birzhevoy and Tuchkov Bridges (Embankment of Europe is in the place of defensive Federal State Unitary Enterprise "Applied Chemistry").
Already in 2004 the company began looking for investors, as it happened to lack its own money for the project. In 2005, the group "Russian investments tried to buy 50% of «Petersburg City», but the deal never took place. Then, 70% were sold for $ 4 million to LSR Group.
But then the two groups had a long argument in the arbitration for that share in the project. LSR won, and soon after it sold it to the bank VTB. In March 2009 the social and business complex project "Embankment of Europe" was presented. Tandem of Evgeny Gerasimov and Sergey Choban won the design contest.
Reference: Construction area - 400 thousand m2. Of these, 140 thousand m2 is set aside for a luxury housing, the rest of the area will be taken by a hotel, offices and shopping center. Term - 2016. The dominant feature of the project will be the Palace of Dance by Boris Eifman for $ 300 million. This is a major encumbrance of the project. Sergey Lvov was born in 1949 in Tallinn. He is an artist by training, until 1990 he worked in a publishing house. In the 1990's he has implemented several projects in St. Petersburg, including the reconstruction of the Chapel yards and a golf club in Dunes. In 2000, he took up the project "Embankment of Europe.
Source: "Business Petersburg" on 23/05/2010