MOSCOW, August 22 - RAPSI. An AirBaltic representative has alleged that surety contracts at issue in a case launched against the airline company by Investbank were forged, the court spokesperson told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/ Baltijas Aviacijas Sistemas is co-defendants in the case with Latvian national airline AirBaltic. Between two complaints, the bank is seeking a total of 13.5 million euros from Baltijas Aviacijas Sistemas as the borrower and AirBaltic as the guarantor.

AirBaltic says an internal audit was carried out and that no contracts were found that identified AirBaltic as the guarantor in the loans to Baltijas Aviacijas Sistemas. It also said that the signatures on the contracts submitted to the court by the bank had been subject to expert examination.

The bank argued that the company did enter into these contracts and they were signed by its former head, while these new allegations were brought up only to drag the trial out.

The bank signed loan agreements worth 2.1 million Euros and 9.9 million Euros with Baltijas Aviacijas Sistemas in 2011, the plaintiff said.

The first loan was set to mature on July 4, and the second on June 29. The guarantor was AirBaltic. Baltijas Aviacijas Sistemas agreed to pay monthly interest, but the bank went to court seeking early repayment after the payments stopped in November 2011.

During the last hearing, Baltijas Aviacijas Sistemas said the bank, the company and Latvia entered into a confidential agreement in October 2011 to continue the financing and to restructure debts under credits. The agreement also stipulates that the disputes must be considered by Latvian as opposed to Russian courts.

The plaintiff said the company had not provided evidence that the agreement is related to the credit and the dispute must be considered by the Moscow Commercial Court, as the credit was issued in Russia.

The judge has adjourned the hearing to allow Baltijas Aviacijas Sistemas time to provide evidence that the agreement is related to the credit.
During the previous session, the court also upheld Latvijas Krajbanka's application to step in as a third party. Latvijas Krajbanka is currently undergoing bankruptcy procedures.

Latvijas Krajbanka said there are reasons to believe that the obligations under the credit contracts were ensured by the bank, which was the depositor, and the obligations have been executed. A commercial court dismissed another Investmentbank lawsuit for the recovery of 5.3 million euros from AirBaltic in June, stating that the case must be considered by an intermediate court according to an agreement between the parties.

Earlier, AirBaltic Vice President Janis Vanags told RAPSI that his company does not have any documentation to prove the company's obligations to the Russian bank.
Investbank was founded in Kaliningrad in 1989. Its head office moved to Moscow in 2011. Investbank is a multi-service bank which serves over 20,000 companies and 200,000 individuals in 84 Russian cities.

Air Baltic Corporation (airBaltic) is a joint stock company founded in 1995. The Latvian government holds 99.8 percent of its shares. In 2011, AirBaltic served over 3.3 million passengers. Its fleet consists of 34 planes.