MOSCOW, September 21 (RAPSI) – The Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals has dismissed an appeal filed by ex-president of VIM Airlines Rashid Mursekayev and his wife Svetlana against a ruling declaring them bankrupt, according to court records.

The Moscow Commercial Court declared the spouses bankrupt in late May. The asset sale procedure was introduced in their case for six months. 

In November 2020, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow issued an arrest warrant for co-owner of VIM Airlines Svetlana Mursekayeva in absentia on scale credit fraud charges. The court ruled that Mursekayeva should be placed in pretrial detention. As the defendant has been put on the international wanted list, the detention term is to make two months since the date she is apprehended within the territory of the Russian Federation, or since the date she is extradited to the national territory from abroad.

Late in 2017, the Moscow Basmanny District Court arrested in absentia yet another co-owner of VIM Airlines, Rashid Mursekayev (husband of Svetlana Mursekayeva) on abuse of office charges.

In May 2020, Mursekayev and his wife filed a cassation appeal against recovery of wages totaling to 28.9 million rubles (over $450,000) which had been paid in excess to them.

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.

In July 2019, the court extended bankruptcy proceedings against VIM Airlines for six months upon a motion by Maksimov.

In April 2019, he filed claims to recover over 7.5 million rubles (about $120,000) of overpaid salary and compensation for employment agreement termination from 17 ex-managers of the air carrier. He also demanded invalidation of salary orders as well as accounting and paying scale up wages from January 2018 to late March 2019 invalid and collection of compensation from the former managers.

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.