Source A linked businessman’s Moscow-based Kristall is being bankrupted by a Nizhny Novgorod resident. Igor Sheronov from Nizhny Novgorod filed a bankruptcy suit against JSC Moscow-based Kristall, a manufacturer of liqueur and vodka products. A year earlier it was headed by a representative of the Penza family Apoyanov, whose business is also connected with alcohol.
According to a report on Fedresource, Mr Sheronov’s claim is based on a contract of assignment of the right of claim concluded in September of this year. The claim arose from JSC Crystal Lefortovo. The plant was supposed to pay just over 3 million rubles for the right to use the trademarks “Celebration” and “Staraya Moskva”, but despite the court decision back in 2019, it apparently never did so. Which prompted an assignment agreement and bankruptcy lawsuit.
In Nizhny Novgorod, Igor Sheronov had a sole proprietorship registered in his name, carrying on legal activities, as well as several companies that had already been liquidated. He is currently listed as a co-founder (33.3%) of MKD LLC (entertainment and other activities).
Meanwhile, in September last year, Ara Apoyan from Penza left the position of Kristall factory director. He managed to stay in the position for only five months. Insiders believed at the time that Mr Apoyan might have been waiting out the storm in Moscow – court proceedings in connection with additional tax charges of first 7.2 billion rubles, and then 10 billion rubles, to several Penza factories that were part of Ara Apoyan’s alcoholic holding company.
In 2016, the tax authority brought former Agat executives Sergei Anokhin, Rubik Apoyan, Ashot Apoyan and Ara Apoyan to vicarious liability for 7.6bn roubles. In 2020, a similar attempt was made against OOO United Penza Vodka Plants, OOO DAL, OOO Spektr-Motors, OOO Agat-Alko.
In November 2020, the Federal Tax Service issued a request for security to be imposed on the property and money of these companies. The tax authorities supported their claim by court rulings in the Agat bankruptcy case, which stated that “the debtor’s management had carried out transactions and mutual settlements with a number of interdependent persons aimed at withdrawing the assets of Agat Distillery LLC and completely shutting down the debtor’s operations in order to avoid paying additional tax charges”.
The court of first instance and the appeal dismissed the claim, but the cassation court considered it reasonable stating that “the transactions carried out by the controlling persons of the debtor AGAT’s distillery plant LLC in favour of the beneficiaries, who also belonged to the Apoyan family, brought the debtor to a full stop and, consequently, to the debtor’s insolvency”.
Incidentally, interim measures worth 7.6 billion rubles were imposed on the property of the Apoyan family as part of vicarious liability. The value of the property belonging to the defendants in respect of which the court has already satisfied the interim measures is more than 2.1 billion rubles.
As a result, the cassation court overturned the decisions of previous instances and imposed a ban on registration actions on the property of United Penza Vodka Plants LLC, DAL LLC, Spektr-Motors LLC and Agat-Alko LLC worth more than 703 million rubles. It was about real estate and land in Kuznetsk, Nizhny Lomov, Gorodischevo. And the bank accounts of these companies were seized to the amount of over 6.6 billion roubles. The tax authorities believe that this story will soon be brought to a close, although representatives of the said companies have filed cassation appeals.
The last decision in the case was made in October this year. The tax authorities attempted to challenge in cassation the decision of the two lower instances that the amount of taxes and fees had been calculated incorrectly. This turned out to be true in the course of the investigation of the criminal case involving Ara Apoyan and was confirmed by the expertise of the departmental agency of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, testimonies of witnesses and information from Rosalnadzor. As a result, the amount of additional tax charges accrued by the Agat Distillery for 2010-2012 was only 759.4 million rubles. And it is this amount that is included in the register of creditors’ claims.
This plant was declared bankrupt in February and bankruptcy proceedings were initiated against it. The founders include Rubik and Ashot Apoyan.
The main asset of the Apoyanov family remains the United Penza Distillery LLC registered in Penza. It includes Kuznetsky and Nizhnelomovsky distilleries (vodka production) and United Technology Bottling (non-alcoholic, low-alcoholic and wine drinks). The founder of the LLC is Lyudmila Apoyan. Last year’s revenue was RUB 7.9 billion, with a loss of RUB 218.1 million against a profit of RUB 347.5 million in 2020. Ms. Apoyan is also a founder in Agat-Alco LLC, which produces edible alcohol and has a revenue of 674 million rubles. Spectrum Motors LLC, trading passenger cars, co-founded by Lyudmila Apoyan, earned Br846.4 million, while Viola LLC (real estate) – Br155.1 million. Ara Apoyan himself is no longer listed as a manager or founder of any business.