Bifidok inventor on international wanted list. Igor Weinstock himself sees what is happening as company’s raider seizure

Bifidok inventor on international wanted list. Igor Weinstock himself sees what is happening as company’s raider seizure
Igor Weinstock Photo: Kommersant

Until recently, Partner company has accounted for 61% of the Russian market of medical bifidus-containing drugs.

The co-owner of the pharmaceutical producer Partner, the inventor of the fermented milk drink bifidok Igor Weinstock, was arrested in absentia and put on the international wanted list on charges of abuse of authority and non-payment of wages to employees of the enterprise, Kommersant informs. Weinstock himself called his criminal prosecution "part of the plan of raider seizure" of his company, which until recently has accounted for 61% of the Russian market of bifidus-containing drugs.

A petition for the arrest in absentia of Weinstock was filed by investigators of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) for Moscow. It was granted by the Moscow Presnensky court. The court decision allows sending documents on the entrepreneur to Interpol for adding his data into the search base. Currently, the businessman is abroad, where, according to him, he “went to visit his friends.” Weinstock does not disclose the country where he currently resides.

According to the publication, the defendants in the criminal case are also another Partner co-owner and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the company, Sergey Ivanchenko, who was placed under house arrest by a court decision, and a member of the board of directors of the company, Nikolay Zagorodnik, who is under travel restrictions. All three are charged with Non-payment of Salaries (Art. 145 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Weinstock is also charged with Abuse of Authority (Art. 201 of the Criminal Code).

The criminal case was initiated in 2017 at the claim of the representatives of Fondservisbank, which has long lent money to Partner, opening a credit line of about 3 billion rubles ($45.1 m) to the company. According to Weinstock, the new leadership of the bank considered that the cooperation with his company had caused damage to the credit organization in the amount of 42 million rubles ($632.7 thousand).

The case was investigated by the ICR Department for Zamoskvoretsky District of Moscow, then it was passed to the Investigative Directorate for  Western District of the capital, and after that - to the Moscow ICR’s Main Investigative Directorate. As part of the investigation, searches took place at the enterprise and at Weinstock’s apartment. The businessman said that after the search in his apartment, he received a call from his relatives, who said that investigators were sitting in a car near his entrance. “Having realized that the police were waiting for me, I, instead of being accompanied by them to Matrosskaya Tishina, took a taxi and went to the airport,” said Weinstock. The businessman does not admit his guilt, claiming that his criminal prosecution is "part of the plan of raider seizure" of his company.

CJSC Partner was founded in 1992 and became one of the first private enterprises in Moscow - it was registered under number 134. Until 2017, Partner was one of the largest producers of probiotics in Russia and the CIS: at three enterprises in Moscow and in the Moscow region it produced drugs Bifidumbakterin, Bifidumbacterin Forte, Probifor, Bifidum-SKhZh and others. In addition, Partner develops and manufactures food products under the Bifidok brand and controls more than 200 enterprises of the dairy industry. In 2017, the company's revenue amounted to 516 million rubles ($7.7 m), and net profit was 23 million rubles ($346.5 thousand). In October 2018, the Moscow Arbitration Court declared Partner bankrupt on the claim of Fondservisbank. The general requirements of lenders to the company exceed 1 billion rubles ($15 m).

In 2009, law enforcement agencies curbed an attempt to seize Partner’s property. The owners of the advertising firm, Oleg Belkov and Andrey Pylinsky, threatened the management of the company to sign an agreement to transfer shares and documents to them for three allegedly not returned loans for a total of 14.2 million euros. In June 2013, the Zyuzinsky District Court of Moscow found Belkov and Pylinsky guilty of Extortion on an especially large scale (part 3 of Art. 163 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced them to five and three years in prison, respectively.

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