Lawyers of NGO Kosmos ex-head accused Bank of Moscow of company's takeover

Lawyers of NGO Kosmos ex-head accused Bank of Moscow of company's takeover
Andrey Chernyakov intends to apply to international organizations for protection

In their opinion, bankers unreasonably demanded early repayment of loans from nongovernmental organization Kosmos (NGO) in order to seize the company's assets.⁠

The lawyers of the NGO Kosmos ex-head Andrey Chernyakov, who is wanted, presented the results of their own investigation into the causes of the company's collapse, in which they accused the Bank of Moscow and the Moscow Government. As Kommersant writes, at the moment the total debt of NGO Kosmos and Chernyakov to the Bank of Moscow is almost 31 billion rubles ($5.3 billion).

According to the results of own investigation, the lawyers filed an application with the ICR demanding to initiate criminal cases against officials of the Bank of Moscow under part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code (Swindling on an especially large scale) and part 2 of Art. 201 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Abuse of Authority). In the investigation lawyers stated that until 2010 NGO Kosmos, headed by Chernyakov, was a successful company, part of the top 200 private non-public companies by the Forbes version. The volume of work performed was about 30 billion rubles ($5b) annually, about 70% of the work was done without the involvement of subcontractors.

According to Chernyakov's lawyers, the situation changed at the end of 2010, when the company took up the completion of the Alabyano-Baltiisky tunnel and the construction of new sections of the North-Western chord. For these works, Kosmos took 9 billion rubles ($155m) in a loan in the Bank of Moscow. However, the company could not repay the debts due to the fact that the Government of Moscow did not keep its promises and did not attract the company to perform major construction works (reconstruction of the Tverskaya Zastava Square, the second stage of reconstruction of the Bolshoi Academic Street, construction of the metro, etc.). According to lawyers, then Chernyakov opened a new credit line for 2.5 billion rubles ($43m) under his guarantee "to save the company." The work resumed, but at the end of 2013, the payment of money from the bank stopped and all loans were presented for immediate repayment. As a result of negotiations with the credit organization, the businessman gave up Kosmos, and he himself moved to the UK.

In the summer of 2015, the Investigation Department of the Internal Affairs Directorate on the Central Board in Moscow instituted a criminal case against Chernyakov under part 4 of Art. 159.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Swindling in the sphere of lending on an especially large scale by an organized group). Another criminal case against him was initiated by the Internal Affairs Directorate of the Odintsovo District of the Moscow Region for financial swindling in the construction of the Judo Academy.

As a result, the businessman was put on the international wanted list, and the Meshchansky District Court decided to recover debts of Kosmos from Chernyakov. Now, his property in the UK, Austria and the UAE is sold at auctions.

Lawyers of the businessman note that the management of the Bank of Moscow deliberately demanded early repayment of loans in order to take possession of real estate and assets of Kosmos and Chernyakov personally. Now, according to the lawyers, the entrepreneur's property is withdrawn from the auctions in the ownership of the structures controlled by the credit organization. For example, the Moscow estate of Chernyakov in Malakhovka was sold for 76 million rubles ($1.3m) at a real cost of 400 million rubles ($6.9m).

Also, the defenders reported that the Bank of Moscow has transferred receivables to LLC Kosmos-M. Now, payments from Chernyakov are demanded both by the credit organization and by the commercial structure, in connection with which the debt from 20 billion rubles ($3.4b) grew to 31 billion ($5.3b). Lawyers said that at the time of the company's transfer, the Kosmos accounted for more than 30 billion rubles in the accounts, which could pay off the debt. If these arguments are not taken into account by Russian law enforcers, Chernyakov is ready to file applications with international authorities.

VTB noted that the fact of indebtedness to the Bank of Moscow had previously been recognized by both Russian and British courts. In Britain, judges also did not recognize Chernyakov's arguments about the pressure and extortion on the part of Moscow bankers. VTB, in turn, filed an application in the High Court of London for the recognition of Chernyakov as bankrupt. The first hearing on this case will be held on May 9, 2017.

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