The lawyer Vladimir Alyoshin shall challenge in absentia arrest of his client Fyodor Khoroshilov. Kommersant

14 July 2011

In absentia arrest accrued under a loan

The court has imposed pre-trial restrictions on the former top-manager of Sibneft for the fraud committed with funds of VTB.

The Verkh-Isetsk district court of Yekaterinburg has in absentia arrested Fyodor Khoroshilov, the former top-manager of Sibneft, thus having granted an application lodged by investigators of Head Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the RF for the Ural federal district (UrFO).The investigators accuse Mr. Khoroshilov of large scale fraud involving the credit funds granted by VTB. The alleged offender is already put on the international wanted list. In turn, its lawyer believes that the businessman is covered by “presidential” amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code (UPK of the RF) and he cannot be arrested.

The Head Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the RF for the Ural federal district has confirmed that pre-trial restrictions in the form of taking into custody were imposed by court on Fyodor Khoroshilov, the former top-manager of Sibneft upon the application of investigators. The directorate of the Prosecutor-General’s Office of the RF for the Ural federal district explained that the decision to impose arrest in absentia was adopted given that Fyodor Khoroshilov was previously put on the international wanted list. The law-enforcement agencies refused to quote the assumed location of the alleged offender, having mentioned the secrecy of investigation.

The investigators issued a decree on bringing Fyodor Khoroshilov to responsibility for a large scale fraud (p. 4 cl. 159, the Criminal code of the RF) in October, 2010. As it follows from the criminal case file, in 2007 the businessman took out a loan of 1.2 billion roubles in VTB bank against hydrocarbon development in the Izvestinskoye Area, the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. For the time being Fyodor Khoroshilov was already the holder of licences for the Salymsky Area in the Khanty-Mansijsk Autonomous District, and Tsentralno-Tarkosalinskoye and Palnikovskoye deposits in Yamal. The businessman intended to invest the borrowed funds in drilling and subsequent oil extraction. In 2008 the businessman has ceased payments for credits. VTB tried to initiate a legal enforcement procedure, then it was discovered that when finalizing the credit Mr. Khoroshilov submitted false deposit audit data: mines and carriers contained ten times less oil, than it has been indicated in documents. The businessman has coincidently hid from his creditors.

In 2009 the property of Fyodor Khoroshilov was seized by decision of the High court of London at the suit of VTB, and the Russian arbitration courts started to consider bank claims to the companies owned by the businessman for a total amount of $800 million. On July, 2009 the Moscow Arbitration court of a city of has collected about 1 billion roubles from Tekhneftinvest Company owned by Khoroshilov in favour of VTB, and the appeal court confirmed legitimacy of this decision. In August, 2010 the High court of London has also sided with VTB. Fyodor Khoroshilov acknowledged all claims of bank (at that time the company claimed $291.3 million) and waived counter claims to VTB group and claims for compensation of the damage allegedly incurred due to seizure of his assets. In court he stated that he planned to make a transaction involving sale of assets of TNI assets to service his debt to VTB group using the obtained funds. Enforcement of the above court decision was suspended until May, 2, 2011. Some days before the expiration of this term Mr. Khoroshilov has managed to obtain prohibition against execution of some claims from the London court, using unreliable information. The ban was lifted by the court decision on July, 5, 2011. The court has also obliged the businessman to reimburse VTB group for judicial expenses at the amount of £175.000. In 2009 a lien was put on his property which covers his assets worldwide, and is still in force.

According to Vladimir Alyoshin, the businessman’s lawyer, the judgment on arrest delivered by the Verkh-Isetsky court about arrest in absentia is illegal. “My client is a businessman,” told the lawyer. “According to accusation presented, the fraud with which he was charged was committed as a result of entrepreneurial activity. Therefore no pre-trial restrictions in the form of arrest can be imposed on my client, according to cl. 108 of the RF Penal Code (taking into custody)”. Mr. Alyoshin added that he has already lodged the cassation appeal to Sverdlovsk regional court”.

Yesterday the VTB press office told “Ъ” that “VTB always tries to achieve an extrajudicial settlement of bad debts. However, in case of an obvious abuse and creditors’ unwillingness to negotiate, VTB shall persist in defending their interests, striving to return borrowed funds and accrued interest”. Some sources in VTB gave an informal opinion that “Khoroshilov’s case is a clear message to all runaways hiding abroad. VTB shall go to the end of the earth to get them and shall apply their best efforts so as to the court forces them to return the funds to the last kopeck”.

Vitaly Moseev, Yekaterinburg  

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