As it became known to Kommersant, the Prosecutor General’s Office, participating in the arbitration, prevented the transfer of assets worth € 15 million abroad. The administrator of the insolvent Latvian PNB Banka (formerly Norvik Banka) expected to receive them. The ultimate beneficiary of the financial structure was previously businessman Grigory Guselnikov, and the deputy chairman of the board of the bank was former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Vigo Krastiņš, the administrator of the insolvent PNB Banka, filed an application for declaring Profproekt LLC insolvent (bankrupt) to the Moscow Arbitration Court. Considering the claim, the arbitration attracted the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation to participate in the case. During the proceedings, it was established that on September 30, 2015, an agreement was concluded between PNB Banka and Podmax Ltd, according to which the company is provided with a loan in the amount of €15,633,270 (or RUB 1.5 billion) secured by movable and immovable property of third parties. persons. At the same time, already in 2015, a subsidiary of the bank became a co-owner of Profproekt LLC. The prosecutors decided that the nature of the legal relations between the bank, Podmax Ltd, the Latvian fund Norvik ieguldijumu parvaldes sabiedriba, which also participated in the transaction, and Profproekt LLC regarding the pledge of 99.999921% of the shares of the “affiliated and controlled by the single beneficiary of the debtor with subsequent appeal to the court with a statement on its bankruptcy testifies to the implementation by the participants of the scheme for the withdrawal of funds “from Russia. The court of first instance, taking into account the opinion of the prosecutor participating in the case, came to the conclusion about the “transit” nature of the transfer of money. However, by the decision of the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal in November last year, this judicial act was canceled and a new one was adopted, which satisfied the creditor’s claims.
The Prosecutor General’s Office filed a cassation appeal against him, which the Moscow District Arbitration Court recently fully satisfied, canceling the appeal court’s decision and upholding the ruling of the Moscow Arbitration Court.
It should be noted that, in accordance with the decision of the Presidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of July 2020, the courts have the right to involve state bodies, including the prosecutor’s office, in the case, if the circumstances of the case indicate the presence of signs of legalization of illegally obtained income. In turn, the federal law, adopted in October last year, supplemented the Arbitration Procedure Code of the Russian Federation with a provision that gives the prosecutor the right to apply to the arbitration court with a claim to invalidate transactions made in order to evade the fulfillment of obligations and procedures provided for by the legislation on counteracting legalization ( laundering) of proceeds from crime, and on the application of the consequences of the invalidity of such transactions. Also, the prosecutor can now join the case of this category, considered by the arbitration court, at any stage of the process and is endowed with the procedural rights and obligations of a person participating in the proceedings.
According to the supervisory agency, in 2022, the Prosecutor General’s Office took part in the consideration by arbitration of 13 cases related to the possible withdrawal of money and other property into legal circulation for a total of 7 billion rubles, in four of them, legalization schemes for almost half of the specified amount were suppressed .
PNB Banka was established back in 1992 and was one of the largest assets in Latvia. In 2013, his controlling stake was acquired by Grigory Guselnikov, who the following year, together with his father, became the beneficiary of Vyatka-Bank. In 2017, Norvik Banka was fined €1.3 million for transactions in circumvention of sanctions against the DPRK. Shortly after that, Grigory Guselnikov in the media accused the leadership of the Bank of Latvia of extorting bribes and initiated a lawsuit in international arbitration against this country.
In September 2019, the bank was declared insolvent, its debts exceeded €465 million. Claims for the recovery of damages by the administrator Krastiņš were filed against all the managers and owners of the bank, including his deputy chairman of the board, former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and a member of the board of the bank , the former head of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) August Hanning. The administrator’s request to seize Grigory Guselnikov’s assets was rejected by the Moscow Arbitration Court.