ICR frustrates plans of former ToAZ owners to siphon off 8 billion rubles

ICR frustrates plans of former ToAZ owners to siphon off 8 billion rubles
Sergey Makhlay

This amount they were planning to pay themselves as a dividend for 2015.

The Moscow City Court upheld the decision of the Basmanny Court to arrest the bank accounts of ToAZ, from which the money was to be transferred to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of JSC Toliattiazot Sergey Makhlay, who was previously removed from the office, and the former CEO of the company Evgeny Korolev. As Kommersant wrote, they are accused of Swindling on an especially large scale (Art. 159 of the Criminal Code) and Abuse of Authority (Art. 201 of the Criminal Code). In these cases, the investigation of which goes back to 2012, the persons of interest are also Sergey Makhlay’s father – Vladimir (also once headed the company) – and their Swiss partners – the CEO of the company Ameropa AG Andreas Tsivi and the Head of Nitrochem Distribution AG Beat Ruprecht. Father and son Makhlays, who are the main owners of ToAZ (9.7% still belongs to Uralkhim), even before the election of a preventive measure managed to escape to the United States. And Korolev went to the UK in 2013. Therefore, they were all arrested in absentia in 2014 and placed on an international wanted list. It is to be noted that, in spite of his absence, Sergey Makhlay de facto continues to head the company: on June 12, 2016, the Board of Directors re-elected him as its Chairman.

In May it was announced that the company's Board of Directors intends to pay to its former owners a record 7.7 billion rubles in dividends for 2015. Sergey Makhlay was to receive 5.4 billion rubles of dividends, as well as 1.3 billion as compensation for his work. Evgeny Korolev could count on 430 million rubles and Andreas Tsivi could get 1 billion rubles. Having learnt of this, the ICR asked the Basmanny Court to arrest ToAZ’s bank accounts to block the withdrawal. The recipients of dividends via their lawyers have filed an appeal in the Moscow City Court. In particular, the defenders pointed out that the criminal case against their clients has no connection with the dividends, in addition, it is impossible to seize the property has not been received. Besides, other property and shares of the company had been arrested previously. However, the Moscow City Court upheld the decision of the Basmanny Court recognizing it as legitimate.

It is to be recalled that, according to the investigators, in 2008-2011 Toliattiazot – the largest Russian producer of ammonia, urea, fertilizers, methanol and its products – was has been selling its products abroad at understated prices to its trader Nitrochem Distribution AG, a subsidiary of Ameropa AG. The trader, in turn, sold the products already at the market price, transferring the difference (millions of dollars) on Makhlaev’s, Tsivi’s and Ruprecht’s accounts. Apart from that, the investigation revealed the illegal withdrawal of the most liquid assets of ToAZ: methanol production together with the land on which it is located. The total damage caused by the unlawful actions of the company was estimated by experts at $ 1.5 billion, and the state budget has missed billion rubles of taxes.

The main owners of the chemical giant themselves, the father and son Makhlays, did not admit their and believe that the criminal proceedings were instituted against them in order to capture the enterprise by minority shareholders.

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