The Kamchatka enterprise Komkon bought out part of the disputed land plots on which the production facilities of the Petropavlovka Shipyard (PSRV) are located back in 2018. In doing so, the company used credit funds. Then she settled with the creditors with the real estate of the enterprise. But since 2020, Nikolai Kuybida, the former shareholder of Komkon JSC, has been trying to challenge the deal. He believes that the PSRV intend to bankrupt and sell for pennies to new owners.
However, a part of the disputed facilities, on instructions from the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, should be seized in favor of the state for the construction of facilities for the gas structure of the Kamchatka Territory on these lands.
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The legendary company in the past has been in depression for the last 25 years and was declared bankrupt in 2014. It was then that the Kamchatka fisherman Nikolai Kuybida appeared. In 2018, he shocked everyone by bypassing Chinese businessmen at an auction and buying a “dying” shipyard for 470 million rubles. Businessmen from the Celestial Empire were going to take an asset that is strategically important for the region and the entire Far East literally for a penny – for 300 million rubles, and were preparing behind the scenes for the auction. Kuybida played competently – at the last moment he gave a price one and a half times higher than that, and thwarted all the competitors’ plans. Kuybida’s total investment in the PSRV subsequently reached 1 billion rubles.
The authorities of the region were pleased with the victory of the Russian entrepreneur, as they had big plans for the use of the shipyard in the future. The Far East, like air, needed a ship repair base in Kamchatka. Indeed, in the waters of the Bering and Okhotsk Seas near the peninsula, more than 600 vessels are fishing. It is much closer and more cost-effective for the fleet to undergo comprehensive maintenance in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky than to go for repairs in South Korean Busan or China.
In addition, prospects for the construction of a small-tonnage fishing fleet “at home”, and not on the opposite side of the country in Kaliningrad, arose again. In June 2021, the first of six small-tonnage fishing seiners was solemnly laid down at the PSRV.
A repair base and its own logistics center for reloading Arctic vessels were also required by Rosatom, the chief curator of the Sevmorput. Negotiations on the creation of such a hub on the territory of the PSRV began with the new owner in 2020.
But it’s not so simple. Nikolai Kuybida is being sued by the “seller” of Komkon and Kuybida’s partner in those years, Andrey Obedin, for a ridiculous reason. Allegedly, when buying Komkon, Nikolai Kuybida did not pay Obedin 500 thousand rubles extra for the company’s shares (in 2018 they cost that much). And then it went on increasing.
“Battle” of exes
Kuibida was not going to give up. He, in turn, decided to challenge the purchase of the disputed facilities of the Komkon shipyard under General Director Andrei Obedin. In 2020, he filed a corresponding lawsuit in court. But the Arbitration Court of the Kamchatka Territory and the Fifth Arbitration Court of Appeal recognized the purchase transaction as legal. Kuybida did not intend to retreat and filed an appeal to the next instance demanding that the case be returned for review to the court of first instance. His assertiveness was supported by the regional prosecutor’s office.
And then events unfolded as unexpectedly, so swiftly. A criminal case has already been opened against Andrey Obedin for abuse of power. His former business partner accused Obedin that he illegally received part of the company’s property as part of a settlement agreement. Kuybida claims that Obedin handed over the property to the shipyard as payment for loans that were allocated for the development of the company. Obedin himself, in turn, declared the illegality of initiating a criminal case against him, since the higher courts recognized his actions as lawful.
Oddities in these cases forced the Obedin family to go all the way to the Supreme Court. Whether this move will help them, we will tell a little later.
Is everything so obvious?
As Versiya reported, at the end of 2021, Obedin was charged under Article 201 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (abuse of power). According to the investigation, the ex-director of Komkon JSC “used his powers contrary to the legitimate interests of the organization in order to extract personal benefits.” Based on the materials of the case, in 2018-2020, being a business partner of the owner of DV-Rybka LLC Tatyana Brazhe, he entered into a number of unprofitable loans in favor of the LLC on behalf of Komkon JSC. The amount of loans reached 100 million rubles. According to the agreements, the loan repayment periods ended in December 2021, but Obedin signed with the lender, by all indications, enslaving additional agreements that obliged Komkon JSC, which he heads, to repay the loans 1 year and 3 months ahead of the contractual deadline – September 1, 2020. The same agreements provided for cannibalistic fines in the amount of 40 million rubles, excluding interest, in case of late repayment of loans and delays of at least one day.
In addition, in October 2020, 52 liquid RRP facilities worth 800 million rubles were transferred to the balance sheet of DV-Rybka. These objects included berths, land plots ranging from 700 square meters to 23 thousand square meters; buildings of transformer substations, plant control room, laboratory, warehouse, hull, forging and mechanical assembly shops.
Obedin, his business partner Pavel Rudenko and the already mentioned Tatyana Brazhe were charged. All three were “put” under house arrest in November 2020. On October 27, 2021, the investigator of the Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Kamchatka Territory Markov V.I. opened a criminal case. The resolution says: “The actions of Obedin and other participants in the transactions were of a systemic nature and inevitably led to the emergence of a progressive amount of debt from Komkon JSC to DV-Rybka LLC.
Versiya spoke in more detail about the circumstances of the transaction in November 2021.
Major shareholder of the PSRF
Nikolay Kuybida, the ex-director of Komkon and allegedly the main shareholder of PSRV, said that he was the only investor in the shipyard. He also stated that the volume of investments in the enterprise reached 1.5 billion rubles. In his appeal to review the decision of the Arbitration Court of the Kamchatka Territory, the businessman claims that his former partner Andrey Obedin took possession of 500 shares worth 700 million rubles.
Kuybida stressed that the arbitration court ignored a number of important facts and evidence in the case of the sale of property of the SPRF. In particular, the court did not pay attention to the attempt of illegal enrichment by the ex-owner of Komkon JSC Rudenko, who, under the pretext of non-payment of 500 thousand rubles under a two-year-old deal, demanded that his shares be returned to him after they had risen in price by more than 1,000 times thanks to Kuybida’s investments.
As a result, at the end of March 2022, Nikolai Kubiyda reached out to the judges of the Arbitration Court of the Far Eastern District. The District Court, having re-examined the case file, came to the conclusion that the factual circumstances of the dispute, the evidence in the case and the positions of the parties were not sufficiently investigated. On this basis, the decision of the Arbitration Court of the Kamchatka Territory dated 06/10/2021 and the Fifth Arbitration Court of Appeal dated 09/28/2021 in case No. A-24-6040/2020 were canceled. And he ordered, when considering this complicated case again, to take into account all the circumstances accompanying the conclusion of transactions for the sale and purchase of shares of Komkon JSC, and to evaluate all the arguments, objections and documents.
Nostalgia for the 90s?
Nikolai Kuybida himself is also not an “angel in the flesh.” Some media wrote that the entrepreneur loves to show off his wealth. At the same time, the same resource claims that the style of the criminal 90s is clearly visible in Kuybida’s work methods.
In 2018, a video “Kamchatka 2018. Destruction of fish. Ltd. Kamber” about the mass extermination of fish in the mouth of the Pymta roar. A voice-over claimed that thousands of tons of fish had been savagely destroyed. They simply ripped open their bellies, took out the caviar and threw it away. The fish itself is not needed by businessmen, the main value is caviar, which costs a lot of money.
The same voice-over claimed that the mass barbaric extermination of fish was arranged by Kamber LLC, allegedly owned by Nikolai Kuybida, already known to us. Nikolay Kuybida. A criminal case was initiated on these facts, the investigation lasted two years. To no avail. And the author of the video has not survived to this day. Whether his death was connected with the video exposure, we will not guess.
How this controversy will end is not yet clear. Nikolai Kubiyda stated his position on a multitude of facts. But the Obedinas are not going to give up either. In addition, another criminal case was opened against Andrey Obedin for fraud. His wife, Anastasia Obedina, said that Andrei was being targeted by a smear campaign. She also stated that the investigating authorities were not impartial. In her opinion, many facts point to this: decisions on choosing a measure of restraint are made by the same judge, who behaves defiantly, the Obedins are psychologically affected, not allowing them to see minor children.
As a result, Anastasia Obedina turned to the head of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, Igor Krasnov, the head of the Investigative Committee of Russia, Alexander Bastrykin, and the chairman of the Supreme Court of Russia, Vyacheslav Lebedev, with a request to take their criminal cases under control.
We will follow how this dispute ends, which in many media was called almost a raider seizure of a strategically significant enterprise in the Far East and in general across the country. The Lenta edition gives its own version of all these battles, suggesting that this is an attempt to seize the shipyard in the interests of Chinese business. The goal is to bankrupt the enterprise again and then it will go to the new owner for a pittance.
Meanwhile, the construction of the seiner laid down in 2021 has been suspended due to all these litigations. And according to plans no later than 2023, he was already supposed to go on his first raid.
The Petropavlovsk Shipyard (PSRV) is a strategic facility for the shipbuilding industry in the Far East. It was founded in 1936. In Soviet times, fishing vessels of all types were repaired and built at the plant. After the 90s, the plant was in decline, in 2014 it was declared bankrupt.
In 2018, the Kamchatka fisherman Nikolai Kuybida bought the PSRV at an auction, killing Chinese investors and investing more than about 1.5 billion rubles in the enterprise. The Kamchatka and federal authorities welcomed the revival of the shipbuilding industry in the region. In June 2021, the first seiner in many years was laid at the PSRV. It was also planned to place a gas distribution station and a logistics center of the Northern Sea Route for reloading Arctic ships on the territory of the shipyard. The revival of the shipyard in the future promised an influx of hundreds of billions of rubles into the economy of the Far East.