Photo: Sergey Kulikov / inter / TASS
Against the founder of online retailer “Yulmart” and the former top-Manager criminal case is brought. Main shareholder Dmitry Kostygin says that he initiated the “dark forces” in the savings Bank. The Bank calls it a “blackmail”
That against members of one of the largest Russian online retailers, a criminal case under the statement of territorial divisions of Federal tax service (FNS), RBC said a source familiar with the situation. According to his information, in mid-March, the search took place in apartment of one of employees of the company.
Dmitry Kostygin, the main shareholder of “Olmert”, the revenue of which at the end of 2016 amounted to 51.7 billion rubles., confirmed RBC this information. Criminal proceedings were instituted against the founder of “Olmert” Alexei Nikitin and former Director General of the company Sergey Fedorinova (led the company from 2008 to 2016), he said. The case was initiated by the Investigative Committee of Russia (TFR) in December 2016 at the initiative of FTS in connection with tax evasion in especially large size. In mid-March employees SKR have spent searches in the old and new offices of “Olmert” and one of the former employees of the company. The retailer provided all the necessary tax service information voluntarily, said in a conversation with RBC representative of the press service of the company.
Nikitin and Fedorinov together opened the “Hardware” in 2008. Nikitin was the sole owner of the company until 2010, when 50% of the online platform was acquired Michael Vasylkevych. From 2011 to 2014, the funds Svoboda Corp. and Koshigi Ltd, controlled by August Meyer and Dmitry Kostygin, bought from the partners ‘ 60% stake in the company. In the spring of 2016 Nikitin withdrew from the shareholders, sold its stake Vasinkevich, Sergey Fedorinov then left the CEO post.
Sergey Fedorinov told RBC that he knows about the criminal case, but he is not involved in the decision of this question. Contact Nikitin failed, the TFR did not respond to a request RBC.
According to published in the files of arbitration cases documents, inspection FNS across St.-Petersburg assessed that the company about 260 million rubles of taxes for the tax period of 2012-2013. Company in 2016 has paid this amount, but went to court to challenge the decision of tax specialists. In the course of litigation, the amount of the tax claim was reduced to 130 million rubles.
Photo: Alexander Nikolaev / Interpress / TASS
According to Kostigen, criminal proceedings were instituted before the company contested the claim on the court. According to his version, “the criminal cases warmed-up” efforts of the staff of Sberbank, the main creditor Bank “Olmert” (total debt “Olmert” to Sberbank and its structures is 2.4 billion rubles, and the retailer has serious problems with her service). Costigan mentions in this connection the names Director of the Department on work with problem assets of Sberbank Maxim Degtyarev and Director of the office of enforcement and bankruptcy Department Yuri Svistunov. Sberbank as an organization interested in the payment of the loan, says Costigan, but some employees more favorable the elimination of “Olmert”, he said.
Sberbank has not agreed to the proposal, “Olmert” on debt restructuring, says Costigan. “If Sberbank will prevail of the dark forces, they will lead to the elimination of “Olmert,” he says. However, a shareholder of the retailer hopes “will prevail light [power] in the person of the President and Chairman of the Board of Sberbank German Gref”. Wednesday, March 29, Costigan said that if he fails to negotiate with the Bank, he will not be able to guarantee that “10 thousand employees will not come to a sanctioned rally in front of the office of Sberbank”.
As told RBC source close to the Bank, negotiations on debt restructuring began in the fall of 2016, but still no success. In December last year, the Bank has addressed with the claim about collecting of 1 billion RUB from the company in connection with a breach of its covenants under the credit agreement. Another lawsuit — this time against the beneficiaries of the company was filed in March 2017. Last week Sberbank announced about intention to address in court with the statement for recognition of the NAO “Hardware” and several of its structures bankrupt. While the Bank stressed that the final decision will be made depending on the situation.
“Hardware” in January 2017, filed a counterclaim against the Bank contesting the loan agreement. With that being said to represent the Bank, the minutes of the Board of Directors of NJSC “Hardware” on approval of the loan agreement was signed by Vladimir Kostygina, and the funds entered the company in full.
As stated by RBC Maksim Degtyarev, responding to accusations of Kosygina, “while steps to eliminate “Olmert” makes” himself a shareholder. “We have repeatedly stressed that the Bank is open to negotiations on debt restructuring on reasonable terms. But now we see no readiness on the part of this company, — said Degtyarev. — Moreover, Dmitry Kostygin has repeatedly refused already agreed terms of restructuring. We understand, Mr. Kostygin really want to believe that everything is back to normal, and took no measures to protect the interests of the Bank in case he is still wrong. But it does not happen. His current actions and statements similar to blackmail with the requirement to write off the debt”.
The charges in the initiation of the criminal case, Maxim Degtyarev said that “this assumption can cause only a smile”. “Apparently, Mr Costigan was “very respectful” refers to the tax office, if it considers that its actions can be influenced from outside”, — said a top Manager of the Bank.
Photo: Simon Katz for RBC
Intracorporate conflict in “Yulmart”, between Kostygina and Meijer on the one hand and Vasinkevich on the other, is coming to resolution.
The conflict began over a year ago. His reason was different vision of their prospects of the company: Kostygin and Meyer insisted on aggressive expansion, while Vasylkevych insisted on the improvement of efficiency.
At the beginning of the conflict, Dmitry Kostygina belonged to 31.6% in Ulmart Holding Limited, the parent company of the online retailer (via Koshigi), August Meyer and 29.9% (Svoboda Corporation). Mikhail Vasinkevich was 38.5% (Union through the Donna Foundation). Costigan in 2016, suggested Vasinkevich to add to the capital of the company is $30 million Vasylkevych offer is not accepted and demanded redemption of their shares through the London court.
In the fall of 2016 consultant of Vasinkevich in the dispute was an investment division “the alpha-Groups” — “A1”, whose members joined the Board of Directors of “Olmert”. In response, members of the Board of Directors, representing the interests of Kosygina and Martin resigned, paralyzing the work of the Council.
In the result, against companies falling within the group “Hardware”, was filed several bankruptcy cases. Claims received from associated with Kostygina Oleg Morozov, the Baltic electronic platform and other creditors of the retailer. In December 2016 in respect of one of the “daughters” of “Olmert” procedure was introduced observation.
Last week the conflict sides declared a truce. According to the proposed scheme, the main shareholders plan to buy back the share of Vasinkevich; corresponding contract they have to sign until mid-April. After that, Ulmart plans to attract a foreign investor, who can receive up to 50% of the shares of the company, told RBC Costigan. According to him, the company already has agreements with two potential shareholders who expressed willingness to capitalize the company, provided that “Hardware” will reach at least a framework agreement with creditors.