Lotsman Management Group Marketing Company seeks bankruptcy of MTS operator. Comments of lawyer Etella Eligulashvili specially for Telecomdaily.

16 December 2011
Lotsman Leads MTS to Bankruptcy

Lotsman Management Group marketing company seeks bankruptcy of MTS operator. The company filed an action to Moscow Arbitration Court.

This August Lotsman Management filed the action claiming collection from MTS of a debt in the amount of 17 mln rubles under an agreement concluded with the operator as far back as 2009. Then Moscow Court of Appeal dismissed the company’s claim. However, the next higher court reversed this judgment and ruled that the debt should be collected from the operator. This ruling is currently also appealed in the court of cassation.

According to comments made by Valeriya Kuzmenko, press secretary of MTS, Lotsman Management did not fulfill its obligations to the operator under the commercial representation agreement and was refused the remuneration. According to the MTS’s application with regard to Lotsman Management, this October a criminal case based on an attempted fraud was initiated. “The court of primary jurisdiction totally supported MTS’s position and dismissed Lotsman Management’s claim,” Kuzmenko said. “MTS company also appealed against the ruling of the court of appeal; the court will examine the complaint on January 19, 2012.”

Lotsman Management confirmed that it actually filed the application to declare MTS insolvent (bankrupt) to Moscow Arbitration Court, having mentioned that “according to information provided by legal departments of outside entities, in the period since 2010 till 2011 a situation with mutual settlements with creditors similar to situation with Lotsman Management developed between MTS and other companies rendering marketing services.” “We regard the remedy as a forced measure,” the company thinks.

Etella Eligulashvili, lawyer of S&К Vertical company, noted that to initiate a bankruptcy case, the court will have to establish that MTS has indicia of bankruptcy; in this very case it refers to inability to satisfy demands of creditors. “We cannot yet suggest that the debtor has indicia of bankruptcy,” Eligulashvili said. “On January 19 the court will assess two diametrally opposite judicial acts of the courts of primary and appellate jurisdictions, and will come to a conclusion whether MTS has or has no debt to Lotsman Management,” the lawyer explained. “Although the right to file an application to declare MTS bankrupt to the court which is provided for by Part 2, Article 7 of the Federal Law On Insolvency (Bankruptcy) currently arose for Lotsman Management as the bankruptcy creditor, however, as of the moment of submission of the application MTS had no indicia of bankruptcy. Therefore, the arbitration court will most likely rule to reject application of OOO Lotsman Management Group to declare OAO MTS bankrupt,” Eligulashvili believes.

According to Anton Bogatov, an expert in the field of telecommunication law, Lotsman Management attempts to speed up recovery of compensation by this means. “It is a legal bargaining tool,” the expert explains. “Such actions are usually filed if the debtor does not have sufficient funds; however, in this instance it is evident that it is not the case.” “I suspect that it is a sort of abuse of right,” Bogatov thinks. “Unfortunately, these methods are used.” According to the expert, there are absolutely no grounds for adjudication in bankruptcy: “It is apparent that MTS will not be declared bankrupt; there are no sufficient conditions for it. The claim will be dismissed, but the company will have to explain the situation to its investors, especially the western ones.”


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