MOSCOW, August 2 (RAPSI) – Four organizations have filed debt recovery claims worth nearly 4 billion rubles (about $55 million) against ex-president of VIM Airlines Rashid Mursekayev and his wife Svetlana, according to court records.

RNGO limited liability company seeks to collect 2.02 billion rubles from the debtors, Rusal Bratsk demands 1.01 billion rubles, Absolut bank wants to recover 800 million rubles and Zenit bank seeks 48 million rubles.

In July, the spouses filed an appeal against the ruling of May 31 confirming their bankruptcy. The Moscow Commercial Court then granted an application filed by VIM Airlines.

In August 2020, the Commercial Court of the Volga District dismissed a cassation appeal against recovery of nearly 20 million rubles which had been paid to the family as dividends for 2015.

In late December 2019, Mursekayev and his wife were ordered to return the overpaid funds. The court therefore declared salary orders as well as accounting and paying scale up wages registered in March 2017 invalid upon an application lodged by bankruptcy trustee Alexander Maksimov. Later, an appeals instance upheld the ruling.

On September 26, 2018, the court declared VIM Airlines bankrupt on the request of the company RNGO. Earlier in August, the court granted an application filed by the company, including a 3 billion-ruble ($44 million) debt into the creditors’ demands list.

On October 17, 2017, a criminal case was launched over premeditated bankruptcy of VIM Airlines. In September of the same year the court returned a bankruptcy claim against the airline back to the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA). According to the court, due to the social tensions surrounding the activities of the airline, the applicant decided to recall the motion.

Investigators believe that certain top managers and owners of the air carrier intentionally made losing bargains in 2016 and 2017 including those aimed at siphoning of assets abroad. The deals led to enormous financial outlay and undoubtedly resulted in the company’s failure to pay debts to creditors in full.

According to investigators, employees of VIM Airlines continued to sell tickets to clients despite being aware that the airline was not able to transfer passengers because there were not enough funds to buy fuel. Investigators believe that the employees embezzled more than one million rubles ($17,000).

VIM Airlines CEO and chief accountant Alexander Kochnev and Yekaterina Panteleyeva have been arrested as part of the case. Co-owners of VIM Airlines Rashid Mursekayev and Svetlana Mursekayeva fled Russia and are currently residing abroad, according to investigators. Allegedly Mursekayev and Kalashnikova fled Russia to hide from investigative authorities. In December, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow issued an arrest warrant for Mursekayev in absentia.