The Court of Geneva has put protective measures on the assets of “Uralkali” owner (the sixth largest producer of potassium in the world) in the frames of the businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev’s divorce with his wife Helen. However, the measures do not apply to industrial and commercial activities of the current producer, they relate to actions of Mr. Rybolovlev. So the court's decision will not affect at work of “Uralkali”, as they assure in the company. However, independent lawyers assume that it will.
Yesterday “Uralkali” reported that the company became aware of the Geneva (Switzerland) Court decision, imposing the security measures on its assets, “except for those participating in the production and normal commercial activity”." This ruling applies to actions of Dmitry Rybolovlev primarily, and does not affect the operation of “Uralkali”, assured the representative of the company. He explained that security measures would be in effect until the end of the divorce proceeding, unless they are appealed and rescinded in the federal court in Switzerland. The company noted that he Uralkaly is not a party to any judicial proceedings in Switzerland related to the process.
A source of “Kommersant” being familiar with the situation said that the Swiss court ruling cannot be applied in Russia at all it has no force in Cyprus, where the main shareholder of “Uralkali” - the company Madura Holding is registered, as well as the trust – owner of Madura. .
Dmitry Rybolovlev owns 65.5% shares of Uralkali - the second-largest producer of potassium in Russia through the Cyprus Madura Holding. Also the offshore company owns a majority stake in Russia's largest manufacturer – “Silvinit”. But even in 2005, Mr. Rybolovlev transfered Madura Holding to the trust.
Mrs. Rybolovleva began divorce proceedings in late 2008 in Switzerland, claiming half of her husband’s fortune, which she estimates at $ 6.12 billion. She tried to arrest his assets around the world by filing lawsuits in the courts of the Virgin Islands, USA, Cyprus, the UK and Singapore. In late 2008, Mrs. Rybolovleva filed a claim to the court of the British Virgin Islands on her husband and three companies he owned- Xitrans Finance, Ringam Investment Finance, and Treehouse Capital. In December 2008, the court seized operations with the companies and assets owned by them. But then it turned out that a few years before the lawsuit was filed Dmitry Rybolovlev had conveyed the disputed assets in the trust, the name of which was not indicated in the trial transcript, so the seize of the companies was called off.
The court’s decision was aimed primarily at preventing the husband from disposing of property which belonged to him, said Arthur Rokhlin, employee of the law firm YUST. This should have prevented the removal of assets and resources that the wife of Mr. Rybolovlev considered common, added Maxim Chernigovsky from "Vegas Lex”. He added also that in such cases the arrest was often superimposed on the funds and accounts that were not considered as business assets. However, as Arthur Rokhlin noted, there is no agreement on mutual recognition of judicial decisions between Switzerland and Cyprus. So the execution of such a decision would depend on the goodwill of the authorities of Cyprus, and would be defined by the duration of the necessary procedures, believes the lawyer. Besides, he added, if the court decision infringes interests of someone except for Dmitry Rybolovlev in some way, it may be appealed.
Source: newspaper "Kommersant» № 42 (4342) on 12/03/2010