Appeals court upholds $229 million fine for Maxi Group founder
MOSCOW, July 7 (RAPSI) – The Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling to award Novolipetsk Steel (NLMK) 7.3 billion rubles ($229 million at the time of the deal) in its lawsuit against Maxi Group’s founder, Nikolai Maximov, RAPSI learned in the court.
The money was paid for a 50% plus one share stake in the steelmaker.
The appeal was filed by Nikolai Maximov. Maxi Group comprised various businesses, from the collection and recycling of scrap metal to the production of steel and long steel products for use in construction.
A series of lawsuits between Novolipetsk Steel and Maximov followed the steelmaker’s purchase of a 50% plus one share stake in Maxi Group for $300 million. The final price was to be settled after a financial assessment of Maxi Group companies.
In December 2009, after completing the financial and legal due diligence of the group, NLMK demanded that Maximov return part of the advance under the transaction in excess of the final purchase price.
Maximov claimed that the portfolio he sold was worth 23 billion rubles ($721.4 million). NLMK argued that Maximov misled them because he withheld information about Maxi Group’s debt and looming bankruptcy. NLMK claimed that Maxi Group was insolvent at the time of the transaction.
The case was sent to the International Commercial Arbitration Court (ICAC) at the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 2011, the ICAC awarded Maximov 9.5 billion rubles in compensation from NLMK and ruled against the steel company’s request to collect the unlawfully obtained 5.9 billion rubles from Maximov.
That ruling was later overturned by state commercial courts, including the Supreme Commercial Court, which ruled that the case was a corporate dispute and hence must be sent to a state commercial court.