Cosmos ex-head may face term in London

Cosmos ex-head may face term in London
Ex-Head of Science and Production Association (NPO) Cosmos Andrey Chernyakov and his wife Anastasia Erokhova in London Photo: Kommersant

16 valid and expired passports were seized from Andrey Chernyakov and his wife Anastasia Erokhova, and they were forbidden to leave England.⁠

Former Head of bankrupt NPO Cosmos Andrey Chernyakov and his wife Anastasia Erokhova, will not be able to leave London until the court's decision on the case of contempt of court. On this charge they may face up to 2 years of imprisonment, Kommersant writes.

The reason for this was the fact that the couple concealed part of their assets, which were seized. At the moment there is no one to represent their interests in courts – law firm Grosvenor Law, which cooperated with them, terminated the contract because of outstanding fees. As a result, representatives of the Bank of Moscow, which demands Chernyakov to pay about 30 billion rubles ($530 m) for unrecovered loans, got access to all electronic devices of Chernyakov and Erokhova – computers, tablets and smartphones. From there they learned that the couple hides part of their property from bailiffs. Earlier the London court has agreed with arguments of Meshchansky district court of Moscow and has allowed realizing jewels belonging to the spouses to recover the loss caused by Chernyakov as the Head of Cosmos.

In 2015 the Russian Criminal Investigation Department of the Department of Internal Affairs (UVD) of the Central District of Moscow initiated a criminal case against him under part 4 of Art. 159.1 of the Criminal Code (Swindling in the sphere of lending on an especially large scale by an organized group). Another criminal case against him was brought to the UVD of Odintsovo District of the Moscow region for financial malpractice in the construction of the Judo Academy. According to investigators, at the end of 2010, Chernyakov’s company, acting as a subcontractor of the construction of the Alabian-Baltic tunnel, and building of new sections of the North-Western chord, received a loan of 9 billion rubles ($159 m) in the Bank of Moscow. Later Chernyakov took another 2.5 billion rubles ($44 m) under his guarantee. At the end of 2013 the bank demanded repayment of all loans. In the aftermath of negotiations with the credit organization, the businessman gave it Cosmos, and he himself moved to the UK.

At the end of last year, the High Court of London forbade Chernyakov to dispose property worth 150 million pounds sterling around the world, thus satisfying the statement of the Bank of Moscow. In total, according to the bank, Chernyakov owes about 30 billion rubles ($530 m).

The arrest was imposed on shares of Chernyakov’s companies located in Cyprus, the British Virgin Islands, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Austria. In addition, two jet planes, two Rolls-Royce cars and luxury goods, as well as accounts and real estate in Cyprus and in Arab countries, owned not only Chernyakov, but also by Erokhova, were arrested, too. For instance, in Florence an object of 11 residential buildings in the style of a Roman palazzo with 60 rooms, located on 4 hectares of land was seized. Last week watches and other items worth more than 150 thousand pounds sterling, formerly owned by the ex-Head of NPO Cosmos, were sold by auction.

Studying the correspondence of the defendants, the lawyers also came to the conclusion that the businessman and his wife, following the example of former owner of Mezhprombank Sergey Pugachev, can leave the UK where they lost the process to the creditor. Therefore, a petition was submitted to the court to prohibit Chernyakov from leaving London, which the court satisfied on April, 4. The bailiffs who came to the spouses in one of the two mansions rented by them in order to seize the documents, faced a resolute rebuff. The spouses even called the police, who, however, demanded that they execute the court's decision and give the passports. Then the defendants said that some of the documents were with their driver, who was then away, and the others were locked in a safe. It was impossible to open it then because the batteries of the safe were low.

Nevertheless, on April, 6 the plaintiffs still received 16 passports of the spouses. Two Russian international passports of Chernyakov and Erokhova, as well as a Cypriot passport in the name of the latter turned out to be valid.

April, 11 witnessed a hearing on the appeal of the defendants, at which the court upheld the decision to prohibit the spouses from leaving England and Wales.

A hearing on the bank's claim about their contempt of court is to be held, and it, of course, can not be compared with the accusation that awaits them at home, according to which Chernyakov can get up to 10 years in prison. Incidentally, in Russia he was issued an international arrest warrant, so staying in London is now the right decision for the businessman. Moreover, according to the Russian lawyers, he should not be extradited from there to Russia in case of satisfaction of the claims.

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