On January 14, 2023, the High Court of England issued an order to seize the assets of Sergei Groza and Vladimir Naumenko, the owners of the GNT Group and Olimpex Coupe International companies, which own the grain terminal in Odessa, thereby satisfying the claim from GNT Group creditors – American investment companies Innovatus Capital Partners (Innovatus) and Argentem Creek Partners (ACP).
An investigation initiated by the creditors proved that the GNT Group liquidated all the grain pledged to Innovatus without the consent of the creditors.
Grain shipped from the port of Odessa has become a critical aspect of negotiations between Ukraine, Russia and world leaders due to its importance to global food security. The expansion of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which made it possible to partially resume the export of Ukrainian grain, underlines the importance of ensuring efficient, transparent and honest operation of Ukrainian grain terminals.
“We find it disgusting that the owners of the GNT Group are using the war for fraud. Investigations show that all of the grain pledged by Innovatus was fraudulently liquidated by the owners of the GNT Group. Therefore, Innovatus had no choice but to seek an asset freeze order in the High Court of England in order to prevent their further concealment by Vladimir Naumenko and Sergey Groza”, said Ana Firmato, Managing Director of Innovatus.
ACP regional top manager John Patton added that ACP and Innovatus were forced to seek justice together after discovering large-scale asset embezzlement and multiple corporate wrongdoing.
“The judgment gives us the opportunity to initiate enforcement action. After the GNT Group transfers control over the assets in the Odessa port to the responsible operators, we do not see any significant obstacles in the operation of the grain corridor. We are ready to continue to cooperate with the Ukrainian state and invest in Ukraine“, Patton stated.