MOSCOW, March 12 (RAPSI) – Defense lawyers have refuted information on the seizure of the Eastsib Holding’s (Eastsib) shares as part of a high-profile case against two former officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) Dmitry Frolov and Andrey Vasilyev, who stand charged with large-scale fraud.

“The Preobrazhensky District Court of Moscow has yet again seized 100% of the shares of JSC RNG, which belong to the Cypriot Eastsib Holding. The shares of Eastsib itself have not been distrained,” attorney Victoria Burkovskaya has told RAPSI.

She also qualifies the criminal case summary distributed by several media outlets as erroneous.

Investigators claim that the FSB officers allegedly told allegedly told Sergey Glyadelkin and his cousin Igor Tkach, who later were recognized as victims in the case, that certain officials, who were the members of the Moscow government in 2011, could block further implementation of a co-investment agreement between Yurpromconsulting (YPC) and Moscow authorities, and thus gave them an advice to temporarily re-register stakes in the company to somebody else.

“Defense lawyers call this investigators’ theory far-fetched and unsupported with well-known facts. There is a judgement against the former Moscow vice-mayor Alexander Ryabinin in the public domain. A court in that case found that the implementation of the said project was terminated in 2009. Glyadelkin's construction company was recognized as injured party; he was a witness and gave testimony. He agreed with the charges against Ryabinin,” the attorney stated.

The Moscow government’s judicial position in the 2010-2011 commercial proceedings was based on the voidness of the contract with Yurpromconsulting a long time before the imputed episode of the YPC stake sale. Concurrently, another victim in the criminal case Igor Tkach, then head of Mosnadzor (Moscow government department), one of the defendants in a lawsuit filed by YPC against Moscow government authorities. The plaintiff sought to return an advance (exclusively on account of loan funds) under the investment contract and demanded recovery of losses from the city. In November 2011, the claimant had zero prospect to collect losses from the city of Moscow after federal Law No. 427-FZ adopted by the State Duma entirely ruled out the possibility of recovery of any losses associated with investment activity from the city authorities.

Fifteen months after the sale of 49% of shares in YPC Moscow’s government decided to continue the development of a microdistrict by efforts of the municipal company CentrInvest, without the YPC’s involvement and on the condition that the latter company would cede all its rights and obligations to CentrInvest.

The lawyer also pointed out the fallacy of the expert findings which established the cost of 49% of the YPC ownership interest. Basing on this wrong value appraisal, investigators find crime elements and establish grounds for securing of the victims’ civil lawsuit by seizing the assets.

“During the court hearing held on March 1, 2022, a forensic expert with the experience of nearly 10 years, an expert with 45 years of work experience in valuation, who was engaged by the court, explained in detail that the investigation experts unreasonably included valuable securities (shares of a closed investment fund) worth 2.5 billion rubles, which the company sold back in 2008 for a significantly lower price and which were not on the balance sheet as of the date of assessment of the shares. In addition to the two main mistakes - ignoring of the existing loan obligations worth nearly 2 billion rubles by the experts and accounting of non-existent asset worth 2.5 billion rubles - arithmetic, methodological and logical errors committed by the investigation experts numbered in dozens. The forensic expert comment corresponds to the opinion of the Federal State Center for Forensic Examination of Russia’s Justice Ministry, which also qualified the investigation experts’ findings as mistaken. The investigation experts failed to assess the company's obligations as they were not provided with its accounting reports despite their request. However, investigators had those documents in possession,” the attorney said.

The lawyer reminded that a court had seized not only the shares of RNG but also other valuable assets, including those belonging to third parties, relatives of Vladimir Stolyarenko and Alexander Bondarenko. The seizure has been regularly extended by different courts for over 2.5 years, she added.

Commercial courts have repeatedly held that companies and individuals associated with the so called victims had abused their rights in matters related to the activities of YPC and other projects.

Alongside the YPC stake episode, the victims also filed other claims against Stolyarenko and Bondarenko concerning the alleged theft of 17 apartments and car parking spaces from them on New Arbat street, 27, in central Moscow. According to the defense, the claims are meritless and refer to the events which took place more than 15 years ago. As to the accrual of rights to each flat, there is a separate ruling of Moscow’s Presnensky District Court on these matters, the lawyer stated.

All investors who had paid for the apartments obtained the ownership of property. Tkach and Glyadelkin did not enter into agreements with the company and failed to pay for the apartments, in stealing of which Stolyarenko and Bondarenko were accused of after all these years, in 2020. The preliminary investigation concerning these episodes against the 2 oilmen has been segregated and ongoing for more than 3 years.