MOSCOW, July 17 (RAPSI) – The Commercial Court of the Moscow Region has ruled in favor of VTB bank with respect to the inclusion of a 3.1-billion-ruble (about $52 million at the current exchange rate) debt in the list of creditors’ claims towards duty free operator Aerofirst, the court decision reads on Monday.

On June 27, the court introduced a monitoring procedure with respect to the Aerofirst just in few weeks after taking the same decision as concerned the operator owner Arial.

Earlier, the court has adjourned hearings over BVI-based Friso Trading Inc. claim seeking the duty free operator bankruptcy because of the company transferring its debtor’s rights to another firm. The Aerofirst’s representative did not oppose the move and recognized the debt.

As it has been reported earlier, Aerofirst operates duty free shops under “Moscow Duty Free” brand since its first shop was established in Sheremetyevo in 1988, what makes it the oldest duty free operator in Russia. The company website shows that it has ten shops in Sheremetyevo F terminal and 13 shops in Domodedovo airport.

Arial operates the Runway Duty Free network in Russia’s airports. The statistics for 2013 show that the company owns more than 20 shops in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo and Novosibirsk airport Tolmachevo. Arial purchased 66.66% of shares in Aerofirst from Aeroflot for 1.23 billion rubles ($20 million at the current rate) in 2012. Later Arial has bought the remaining shares from Irish duty free operator Aer Rianta.