London court recognizes Moy Bank ex-owner Gleb Fetisov uninvolved in its collapse

London court recognizes Moy Bank ex-owner Gleb Fetisov uninvolved in its collapse
Gleb Fetisov Photo: Artem Korotaev / TASS

It was entrepreneur Vladimir Malin who was found guilty of bankruptcy of the organization. Russia, meanwhile, does not agree with the court's decision: Fetisov is accused of embezzling 2 billion rubles ($33.8 m), which, according to the investigation, led to the collapse of the bank.

The International Court of Arbitration of London (LCIA) recognized Russian banker and ex-senator Gleb Fetisov as not involved in the bankruptcy of Moy Bank (My Bank), RBC reports. The court granted Fetisov's claim against businessman Vladimir Malin, who in between 2000 and 2004 served as Head of the Russian Federal Property Fund, and found the latter guilty of the bank failure. The ex-senator was awarded $29.9 million as compensation.

It is reported that the London court took a decision back in May 2017. In June, it came into force. At present, the court decision was passed to the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor General's Office, which charges Fetisov with embezzlement of 2 billion rubles ($33.8 m), which, according to investigators, provoked the bankruptcy of Moy Bank. A copy of the decision was also handed over to an authorized representative for the rights of entrepreneurs, Boris Titov.

RBC gives a brief summary of the reasoning part of the court decision. In 2013, Fetisov sold Moy Bank to 11 shareholders, one of whom was Vladimir Malin. He negotiated with Fetisov on behalf of the other buyers. It is noted that the contract of sale and purchase of the bank's shares was governed by English law, therefore all disputes over it were settled in London.

Under to the agreement, Malin was obliged to "ensure the continuity of operation" of the bank at least until 2020. However, he failed to do this, which led to the revocation of the license from Moy Bank and bankruptcy. Malin and other buyers sold the bank shares of the bankrupt company Spyker Cars. At the same time, Fetisov, according to the court, had nothing to do with the acquisition of a bad asset.

The Investigative Committee suspects Fetisov of creating a scheme, as a result of which he bought good asset Altimo from the bank and left the depreciated Spyker's shares on the organization's balance sheet instead. The bank's shareholders, including Malin, claimed that Fetisov had imposed the bad asset on them.

The London court, however, decided that Fetisov "did not commit any actions" that could lead to the bankruptcy of Moy Bank or the revocation of its license. The culprit for the collapse of the bank was considered to be Malin. He was ordered to pay Fetisov damages worth 677.4 million rubles ($11.4 m) and 12.2 million dollars, as well as interest on these amounts, legal and arbitration costs - a total of 29.9 million dollars.

It is noted that Fetisov's lawsuit was considered in the absence of the defendant. The reason for this decision was that Malin failed to deliver a notice of the start of the process. He allegedly refused to accept the document. At the same time, the businessman himself told the newspaper that he "hears for the first time" about the court's decision and attempts to give him a notice on the trial. Malin also noted that he had joined the Board of Directors of the bank a week before the non-payments issues began. According to him, the Board of Directors did not manage to take a single decision.

Andrey Knyazev, head of the Moscow bar association Knyazev and Co, says Russian law enforcement officers oftentimes turn a blind eye to the decisions of international courts if they collide with their inference. This appplies especially to arbitration courts that do not have a formal influence on the course of trials in Russia. Thus, the decision of the London Court is likely to not have any effect on the investigation against Fetisov.

Gleb Fetisov was detained in February 2014 at Domodedovo airport upon his return from France. Against him and ex-Chairman of the Board of Moy Bank Kira Andrianova a case was initiated under Art. 159 of the Criminal Code (Swindling), which was further classified under Art. 160 of the Criminal Code (Misappropriation or Embezzlement). According to the investigation, in the period from 2012 to 2013 Fetisov and Andrianova embezzled the bank's securities and money for a total of 1.96 billion rubles ($33.1 m). This resulted in the organization going belly-up.

Fetisov was in custody for about a year and a half, after which he was transferred under house arrest, and then - under a written undertaking not to leave the place. Large depositors of Moy Bank served as guarantors for the banker before the court, including presidential aide Sergey Glazyev and director Nikita Mikhalkov.

Debt obligations of the bank moved to the ACB. In 2015, Fetisov paid the organization the entire amount of debts - about 14 billion rubles ($236.6 m). But he did not admit his guilt.

In 2015, the indictment was passed to the Prosecutor General's Office, but they refused to sign it. The case reached the court only in 2017, but it was sent for further investigation. At a preliminary hearing in the Presnensky Court of Moscow, Judge Tatyana Vasyuchenko stated that the case could not be considered due to inaccuracies. It does not specify exactly whose money was spent by Fetisov and Andrianova and which mechanisms they used for this. In addition, organizations ACB and Moy Bank, mentioned as the victims in the case, can no longer be considered as such. Moy Bank is liquidated, and ACB is no longer engaged in its competitive management. The case was returned to the prosecutor's office, which, in turn, passed it to the Investigative Committee.

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