A company from the United States requires $ .75 billion from a number of Russian companies and individuals in the case of loss of control over the Voronezh enterprise Pavlovskgranit. The highlight of the proceedings is that Sberbank and its head German Gref are among the respondents. According to the lawsuit, the "light of Russian liberalism" and the apologist of a market economy could be implicated in banal raiding. The first hearing on this case will be held on April 20 this year.
According to the newspaper Vedomosti, "registered" in the state of Delaware, PPF Management company sued one of the districts of New York lawsuit, the defendants under which are Sberbank and its head and chairman of the board Herman Gref, Sberbank Capital LLC and its general director Ashot Khachaturyants, NEO Center and its president Oleg Gref, as well as co-owner of the National Non-metallic Company (NOC) Yuri Zhukov. The plaintiff demands from them to pay back half a billion dollars of material damage and a quarter of a billion of moral damage.
The cause for the claim was the situation around one of Europe's largest enterprises for the production of granite crushed stone for construction - Pavlovskgranit. His largest co-owner was Sergei Poimanov. The enterprise was credited to Sberbank, failed to repay debts, as a result of which the businessman lost his property. Пойманов tried to challenge it in the Russian courts, but as a result has crossed the requirements of PPF Management.
As stated in the lawsuit, the defendants allegedly colluded with the goal of raider capture of the enterprise. According to the interpretation of this story in the lawsuit, in 2008 Sberbank issued Poimanov a loan of 5.1 billion rubles at 17.8 percent per annum for the purchase of a 48 percent share of the partner leaving the business. Then Sberbank ordered an assessment of the company from NEO Center, co-owner and vice-president of which is the son of the head of Sberbank Oleg Gref, established that Pavlovskgranit costs 13.4 billion rubles.
In 2009, Poimanov's company was unable to service its debt obligations. The owner of Pavlovskgranita asked to postpone the payment of the body of the loan for two or three years, preserving the existing order and the amount of interest payment. Sberbank in return offered to refinance the debt at a rate of 14.9 percent, But so that at the same time Poimanov sold 51 percent of Pavlovskgranit Sberbank to capital for one million rubles.
And the businessman could get the factory back only for 350 million rubles, and not earlier than the company, which Poimanov could no longer manage, pay off two-thirds of the loan amount. True, while the rate on the loan, "Sberbank" was willing to reduce to 14.75 percent per annum.
Poymanov did not agree to such conditions, especially since other banks previously expressed their readiness to refinance the enterprise at 12-13 percent. But after the final conversation between the owner of Pavlovskgranita and the expert on problematic assets of Sberbank, Ashot Khachaturyants, in which the latter promised that the businessman would not receive on-lending to any of the banks, the doors of credit institutions opened before Poymanov began to close.
At the same time, Sberbank demanded to pay off the remaining part of the debt - 4.5 billion rubles, and, having not received the required, began to take out the enterprise, which, by the way, fell slightly in price, by the light hand of Oleg Gref, four and a half times - to 3 , 2 billion rubles.
In 2010, Zhukov suggested that Poimanov settle claims by combining assets with NOCs. But Poimanov refused, and in this case. As a result, all rights of claiming debts were transferred to Sberbank Capital, and the latter sold shares in Pavlovskgranit with a hammer.
According to the lawsuit, the buyers were affiliated with NOC Zhukov and received a preferential loan in Sberbank for the purchase of assets.
So that no one reproaches the "Mosmonitor" in excessive attention to the dismantling of money-bags, we note that among the victims in the "act of raiding" were ordinary citizens - employees of the long-suffering enterprise. After the seizure of Pavlovskgranit Zhukov and his comrades, new owners created in their place a couple of new companies - Pavlovsk Nerud and Pavlovsk Promvzryv. As a result of these perturbations, about a third of all employees (1500 people) were at the gate. For a monotown with a population of just over 25 thousand people, which is Pavlovsk, this figure is a critical indicator.
PPF believes that the actions against Pavlovskgranita were a planned raider attack. So, the plaintiff asserts that documents on the sale of shares to offshore Zhukov appeared earlier than the auctions themselves had passed.
Also in the lawsuit it is pointed out that simultaneously Poimanov was subjected to "harassment and intimidation", the businessman became a figurant of several administrative and criminal cases.
In Sberbank over the claim note that the plaintiff simply tries to escape responsibility by filing an application with the overseas court.
For the sake of justice, it is worth noting that from another perspective this story looks somewhat different. As the media said on condition of anonymity, a person close to Sberbank, initially loan to Poimanov was granted on the security of the shares of the enterprise and a personal guarantee of the businessman. When the debt ceased to be serviced, and negotiations on restructuring failed, according to the informant, Poimanov tried to challenge the guarantee agreement.
The interlocutor of the newspaper points out that the bank acted on a standard procedure and did not break anything.
BMS Law Firm's partners Denis Frolov and KIAP Anton Samokhvalov are skeptical about the prospects of this suit. They point out that all the numerous facts described in the claim require reinforcement with witness statements. It will be very difficult to attract so many people to the cause.
Partner Westside Advisors Sergei Vodolagin, on the contrary, believes that PPF has every chance of success in the US court.