The Second Court of Appeal of General Jurisdiction released him from the pre-trial detention center on bail in the amount of 30 million rubles. co-owner of the Rive Gauche perfumery chain and the former Ulmart online store August Meyer, who is accused of particularly large-scale fraud, lawyer Oleg Tkachenko told Vedomosti about this.
Meyer’s defense for more than a year sought his release from the pre-trial detention center, insisting that there was no need to keep the entrepreneur in custody in connection with the repaid damages in the criminal case and a number of other circumstances. On December 14, 2022, the St. Petersburg City Court refused to release Meyer on bail in the amount of 25 million rubles. and extended his preventive measure in the form of detention until March 1, 2023.
At the moment, the investigation of the criminal case on three episodes of fraud on an especially large scale (part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) has been completed. The defendants and their lawyers get acquainted with 150 volumes of case materials, after which the case will be referred to the court for trial on the merits.
Together with Meyer, his wife Inna Meyer and General Director of Big Box LLC Elena Streltsova are accused in the criminal case. They were arrested in December 2021.
Meyer and his accomplices are charged with three episodes of fraud, two of which are related to the theft of funds from Sberbank, a source close to the investigation told Vedomosti. According to investigators, the online retailer Ulmart received funding for development from the bank in the amount of 2.4 billion rubles. The details of the third episode, in which VTB was recognized as a victim, are unknown, but, according to the interlocutor, the total amount of damage in the criminal case is about 3 billion rubles.
On December 14, 2022, the United Press Service of the Courts of St. Petersburg reported, citing a representative of Sberbank, that the defendants were compensated for the damage to the credit institution in full.
Tkachenko’s lawyer, in an interview with Vedomosti, noted that his client also compensated VTB Bank for the damage caused, refusing to name the exact amount.
In January 2022, another Vedomosti source familiar with the case file reported that the Meiers were detained on December 8 as part of a criminal case involving the theft of Sberbank loans received by Yulmart for business development, which has been under investigation since 2017 by the Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region.
In 2017, Dmitry Kostygin, another co-owner of Ulmart, became a defendant in this case, who was accused of fraud with a Sberbank loan for 1 billion rubles. According to investigators, in order to receive money, false information about the financial condition of the company was presented to the bank. Kostygin, by a court decision, was placed under house arrest, but then released on bail, and the case itself was reclassified to a less serious article – Part 2 of Art. 165 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (causing damage without signs of theft). The case against him has not yet been closed, a source close to Kostygin confirmed.
Until 2016, Ulmart, according to Data Insight, was the largest online retailer in Russia with a turnover of 36.6 billion rubles. But due to the outbreak of a corporate conflict, the company lost leadership to Wildberries.
The conflict itself happened due to the fact that Meyer and Kostygin (61.5% of Ulmart were under their control) did not agree with their partner, Mikhail Vasinkevich (38.5%), on the further development of the business. One of the latter’s firms then claimed that Kostygin was trying to force him to sell his stake in the company at a reduced price or launch a controlled bankruptcy. As a result, he was forced to apply to the London Court for protection of rights and for advice – to A1 Investment Company. The Ulmart company itself ceased operations in the spring of 2020, its structures are now in the process of bankruptcy.