Developer of Moscow oceanarium files lawsuit against Facebook Trading offshore
MOSCOW, April 20 (RAPSI) – Developer of construction project for Marin Gardens oceanarium in Moscow has filed 633 billion rubles (about $11 billion) lawsuit against Facebook Trading Limited company registered in Cyprus, court records read on Thursday.
The lawsuit reached the Moscow Commercial Court on April 11 and was not commenced because of improper formalization. Marin Gardens asks the court to recover debt from the defendant in this case. The plaintiff has earlier been controlled by former owner of Kazakh BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov and the defendant is also related to the ex-banker.
The Moscow Commercial Court declared Marin Gardens bankrupt in October 2016. The company’s debt was nearly as high as 8.2 billion rubles (about $146.4 million), almost all of it was owed to BTA Bank.
According to the case documents, Marin Gardens has granted a $99.4 million loan to the Facebook Trading Limited just a day after receiving $99 million from Legendcatch Services Limited. In 2010, the Moscow Commercial Court noted that most of the funds were not used for construction but were transferred to various offshore companies under the guise of using them for investments. This guise was allegedly created specifically for the main creditor, BTA Bank.
The court stated that Facebook Trading Limited is owned by Ablyazov.
In early 2000s, Moscow authorities leased a large plot of land to Marin Gardens for the construction of the oceanarium. The opening of the object, then called the largest in Eastern Europe, was planned for 2009. The project, however, has never been implemented, and at the moment its completion rate is evaluated at around 16%.
Ablyazov stands charged with embezzlement, forgery of documents and abuse of office in Russia. He has been arrested in absentia.
BTA Bank ex-chairman fled to the UK after the Kazakh government acquired a stake in BTA Bank in 2009 and the bank came under the control of its sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna.
He was granted political asylum in Britain in 2011. However, he remained a fugitive from justice since February 2012.
His whereabouts remained unknown until he was detained on July 31, 2013 near Cannes, France. Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine are all seeking his extradition.
In October 2015, French authorities approved Ablyazov’x extradition to Russia. In December 2016, French Conseil d'État, highest administrative government body, overruled prime-minister’s decision to extradite Ablayzov and released the tycoon from jail.