Friday, November 25, 2011

BVI court steps into Russian fight

FORMER Russian entrepreneur Vitaly Arkhangelsky has had a small legal win in his long-running battle to recover the port assets of his Oslo Marine Group.

A British Virgin Islands appeals court this week issued a temporary injunction against the Bank of St Petersburg; the bank’s controlling shareholder, Andrei Savelyev; and 15 other Russian or foreign companies associated with Savelyev.

Arkhangelsky remains in France, where he fled in 2009 from fraud charges that he says are trumped-up. France has refused extradition.

He has accused Savelyev and his bank of improperly using their position as a creditor of OMG, with a 3.5Bn rubles ($113M) loan, to force the group into bankruptcy and seize terminal and insurance assets at St Petersburg.

Arkhangelsky sought disclosure of Savelyev's worldwide assets and a freeze order over assets in BVI, but the BVI court rejected the application on July 22, according to court papers.

Arkhangelsky then appealed, and on 21 November, a four-judge court overruled the earlier decision and granted the freeze order.

The bank and Savelyev have 28 days in which to reply. In addition, Arkhangelsky has accused Savelyev of orchestrating a scheme to transfer shares of Western Terminal at St Petersburg into foreign companies.

The bank denies any wrongdoing, and has countercharged that Arkhangelsky overstated the value of the assets which had secured the original bank loan.

Western Terminal, bought by Arkhangelsky in 2007, has three berths used primarily for handling outsized cargoes and timber exports.

FAIRPLAY Daily News  23 Nov 2011

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