MOSCOW, August 17 (RAPSI) – The Commercial Court of Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan has refused to reconsider a ruling on the recovery of nearly 29 million rubles ($400,000) of salary overpaid to ex-president of VIM Airlines Rashid Mursekayev and his wife Svetlana, according to court records.

The republican commercial court invalidated deals on the wage increase executed in March 2017 upon an application filed by the airline’s bankruptcy receiver Alexander Maksimov. Instances of appeals and cassation later upheld the ruling. The Mursekayevs challenged the rulings in the Supreme Court but lost the appeals in November 2020.  Then the spouses filed an application seeking to reconsider the matter upon newly discovered evidence.

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.