Russian court seizes Togliattiazot shares from Ameropa Holding AG chairman
MOSCOW, June 9 (RAPSI, Alexei Afonsky) - Moscow's Meshchansky District Court ruled to seize shares held by Maxim company co-owned by Swiss businessman Andreas Zivy in Russia’s largest ammonia producer, Togliattiazot, RAPSI reported on Tuesday from the courtroom.
Investigators claim that Togliattiazot products were sold in 2008-2011 at heavily reduced prices to Swiss companies Nitrochem Distribution AG, a chemical and allied products wholesale distributor, and Ameropa Holding AG. These two companies allegedly resold the products to independent buyers at market prices. Part of the revenue was supposedly transferred to offshore companies affiliated with Togliattiazot, according to investigators.
Initially they claimed that Togliattiazot lost about $3 billion as a result of an alleged fraud scheme. The investigation was launched in 2012 at the request of Uralchem, a shareholder in Togliattiazot.
In December, four men implicated in the case were arrested in absentia, including Togliattiazot chairman Vladimir Makhlay, his son Sergei, president of the board of Ameropa Holding AG Andreas Zivy and businessman Beat Ruprecht.
All the suspects in the case were placed on the international wanted list as investigators say they have no official information on their whereabouts.
Investigators also found that before 2014, Nitrochem Distribution owned a share in Togliattiazot that was later sold to Maxim, an offshore company belonging to Zivy.
As it will be difficult to recover damages caused to Uralchem from an offshore company, investigators filed a motion to freeze Togliattiazot stocks, currently worth 12.5 million rubles and held at a Raiffeisen depository with a ban on writing off dividends.
Zivy’s representative, Oleg Tkachenko, said his client denies the charges and claims they are unfounded. However, Zivy does not deny the fact that he is Maxim’s beneficiary. According to the lawyer, the shares cannot be frozen because they were purchased in 2004 before the incident implicated the president of Ameropa. The investigator’s charges also do not specify a term for freezing the stock which is against the law.
The court eventually agreed with investigators and ruled in favor of the motion.