Tops reset “Plus Bank”
Schemes with pocket borrowers Konopasevich, Parfyonov and Nukushev deprived the Omsk “daughter” of “Tsesnabank” more than 8 billion rubles. The bankruptcy case of IstokKapital LLC, a former counterparty of Plus Bank, which is being considered in the Arbitration Court of the Omsk Region, shed light on the possible fraudulent actions of the former management of this credit institution.
A few years after the resignation, top managers filed a lawsuit against the successor of their financial structure, Asia-Pacific Bank (ATB), and will try to recover 1.3 billion rubles from the new owner. According to lawyers, such a statement is illegal and was made possible precisely thanks to the financial schemes implemented in the past.
How the bank turned into a “deposit vacuum cleaner”
As Oktagon.Sibir wrote, IstokKapital, apparently, was one of the links in the chain of gray schemes of former top managers. They were involved in the withdrawal of more than 8 billion rubles through affiliated companies. We are talking about the dubious projects of the bank associated with its leaders. First of all, these are deliberately bad loans for hundreds of millions of dollars issued to firms affiliated with them.
In April 2022, the bankruptcy creditors of IstokCapital filed a claim for 1.3 billion rubles against Quantum Mobile Bank (until March 2021 – Plus Bank) for subsidiary liability as a profit center for the debtor’s obligations. ATB became the defendant because in June of that year it took over Quantum Mobile Bank and became its successor. The register of IstokCapital’s creditors’ claims includes 1.1 billion rubles from the Cypriot company Paploma Holdings Limited and 187.2 million rubles from Yulia Kolesnik. As Oktagon.Sibir noted, they are all associated with the ex-management of Plus Bank and participated in a number of schemes with non-performing loans.
The reason for the suit was the sale by Plus Bank in 2012-2015 of bills of Sberbank to IstokKapital at an inflated cost with a repurchase at a price of 5-7 percent of the original.
The transaction was completed using loans received from Paploma Holdings Limited and another company, whose rights of claim were later acquired by Kolesnik.
In support of the claim, the bankruptcy creditors cite the words of IstokKapital CEO Viktor Isaev: he admitted that he was only a nominal director, and the affairs of this company were managed by his relative Alexander Konopasevich, as well as Marat Nukushev, who came to Plus Bank in 2010. Both were members of the bank’s board of directors from 2012–2017. Nukushev’s wife Tatyana Novikova was actively involved in business, acted as the beneficiary of many enterprises that received bad loans from Plus Bank.
This credit institution at that time was led by Alexei Parfyonov. He became the owner of 18.43 percent of its shares and a member of the board of directors in 2010. In 2011, he rose to managing director, but already in 2012, the OmskRegion news agency downgraded Plus Bank’s financial stability to the fifth, most recent category and called its market strategy a “deposit vacuum cleaner.” According to the agency, at that time the credit institution was forced to maintain liquidity, including through loans provided to it by the owners. In 2017, Parfenov was fired from his post.
Another top manager of Plus Bank, related to the IstokCapital case, Alexander Konopasevich, became the chairman of the board of directors of the company in 2010 and held this position for five years. Previously, he worked at Kazkommertsbank, Eurasian Bank and Alfa-Bank (Kazakhstan). Now in the register of the Federal Bailiff Service, his debt on loan payments is 725 thousand rubles. In 2021, the court declared Konopasevich bankrupt.
Schemes with non-performing loans
Court cases involving Plus Bank and its shareholders revealed a number of projects implemented just at the time when the bank was headed by Konopasevich, Parfenov and Nukushev. All three had many affiliated companies, through which, apparently, the funds of the credit institution were withdrawn. Businesses that received massive loans soon became unable to pay their bills.
For example, System INN LLC in 2013 received 398 million rubles for the construction of a cottage village in the Moscow region from Plus Bank, and then another 50 million dollars from Tsesnabank. According to the SPARK database, the founder of the company was initially Alexei Parfyonov, and in 2011 it was transferred to the adviser to the chairman of the board of Plus Bank, Anastasia Bocharova. In addition, Parfenov, as an individual entrepreneur, acted as a contractor for System TIN with contracts worth 80 million rubles. Later, the court came to the conclusion that the contract was a sham deal, and the results of the “investment” in a company associated with the managing director of the structure that issued the loan to it were the inability of System TIN to pay its bills and claims for 5.9 billion rubles.
Eurasia Food Company LLC also became insolvent. In 2014 and 2015, Plus Bank issued loans to him for a total of 125 million rubles, the obligations for which were never fulfilled. From the moment of its foundation, the same Anastasia Bocharova acted as the founder of the company, and the wife of Alexei Parfyonov was the general director.
Holes in Plus Bank’s budget, formed by non-performing loans, were often extinguished by a shareholder – Tsesnabank – through the sale of problematic portfolios of an Omsk financial institution through a chain of affiliated legal entities. For example, in 2014–2015, he issued $47.9 million to Upgrade Auto Plus LLC, associated with Marat Nukushev, to purchase Plus Bank’s troubled car loan portfolio from Profekspert LLC.
Now Upgrade Auto Plus is also bankrupt.
In 2014, a Kazakhstani financial institution issued another $36 million loan to Region-Stroy for the purchase of 100 percent of shares in Ricom-Plus Real Estate, a closed-end mutual investment fund that owned property in Omsk with a market value of RUB 1.4 billion. It is noteworthy that Region-Stroy LLC is affiliated with several top managers of Plus Bank at once. This project is related to Russian Traditions LLC, connected with Nukushev and Parfyonov through their spouses, as well as with the Good Television company, the founder of which is Galina Konopasevich.
In December 2016, Tsesnabank issued KZT 510 million to KA Kapital-Invest LLC for the purchase of cars from Profavto LLC and Trade I LLC, which, in turn, purchased mortgage cars from Plus Bank. Alexander Konopasevich coordinated the divisions of the financial organization for this project. At the same time, until 2019, Alexander Pronyushkin was the sole founder of the company. Information about the case has been published in the public domain, in the materials of which his daughter Elena Parfyonova, concurrently the spouse of Alexei Parfyonov, is indicated as the successor of Pronyushkin.
Plus Bank issued funds, despite the negative conclusions of its own credit risk service. From 2015 to 2019, he replenished the working capital of RK-Trade LLC, an exporter of materials for railway tracks to the CIS countries, by 320 million rubles. To date, 115.3 million rubles have not been returned, the legal entity has been declared insolvent. Nukushev managed companies to which funds were distributed from the bank through a number of legal entities affiliated with his wife, Tatyana Novikova.
Many projects were put on hold for several years as earmarked loans were misused or simply withdrawn.
But Tsesnabank helped. In particular, in 2017, he increased the authorized capital of his beloved “daughter” from 748.2 million rubles to 4.1 billion rubles (five times), additionally placing shares in the amount of 3.4 billion rubles. At the same time, Tsesnabank itself had a large number of problem loans. By 2018, there were so many of them that the backbone organization faced the risk of revoking the license. After identifying these problems, to save the backbone bank, additional capitalization by the state in the amount of 800 billion tenge of budget funds was required.
Against the backdrop of all these difficulties, the withdrawal of funds from Plus Bank could not go unnoticed by the Kazakh shareholders of the parent organization, Tsesnabank. It is hard to believe that they did not know about such large-scale schemes developed by the top managers of their Russian subsidiary.
During the consideration of the case in the Omsk court, information surfaced about many schemes ten years ago. A group of leaders could use their official position for their own enrichment. If a criminal case is opened, their actions can be qualified as fraud.
The next court hearing is scheduled for February 28.
Konopasevich’s debt scheme
[…] In 2012-2015 Omsk Plus Bank sold Sberbank promissory notes to LLC IstokKapital at an inflated cost with a buyback price of 5-7 percent of the original. It follows from the materials of the court that in 2012 the Cypriot company Paploma Holdings Limited transferred $7.5 million to IstokCapital under the guise of a loan. With this money, the bills of Sberbank were bought. Plus Bank bought them from the company at a significant discount, which may indicate the hidden financing of Plus Bank by a Cypriot company through IstokCapital.
Interestingly, the debtor was already insolvent at that time, and its authorized capital was 15 thousand rubles. The issuance of a loan by Paploma Holdings Limited indicates a lack of due diligence. In fact, according to lawyers, it was a deliberately bad loan.
In March 2022, a certain Yulia Kolesnik, who has the right to claim debt to IstokCapital on loans from Paritet Consult, filed a claim for 187 million rubles against Quantum Mobile Bank (formerly Plus Bank). In June, the lawsuit was already addressed to ATB, since Quantum Mobile Bank joined the credit institution. Paploma Holdings Limited also applied to the court with claims for 1.1 billion rubles. It is registered in Cyprus as a supplier of food, clothing, household and industrial equipment, in addition, the firm provides consulting services.
According to the case file, Yulia Kolesnik and Paploma Holdings Limited are affiliated with the former leaders of Plus Bank. The general director of IstokKapital, Viktor Isaev, said that he acted on the instructions of Alexander Konopasevich, playing only a nominal role in the company. It is worth noting that Isaev’s wife is the sister of Konopasevich’s wife.
In addition, the materials contain facts pointing to the affiliation of the former management of the bank with the creditor, Paploma Holdings Limited. In particular, Aleksey Parfenov repaid debts on loans and acted as a guarantor for the obligations of a certain Menalina, a representative of Paploma Holdings Limited in Russia. And the plaintiff Yulia Kolesnik and Alexander Konopasevich, apparently, have such close relations that he trusts her to take and pick up his child from the kindergarten. In addition, when registering her car, Kolesnik indicated a telephone number currently owned by Pro.Sistema LLC, headed by Konopasevich’s wife Galina.
The Central Bank of Russia and Rosfinmonitoring see dubious transactions
The purchase of Kolesnik’s debt from Paritet Consult in 2015 could have been an attempt to hide the names of the ultimate beneficiaries (Konopasevich and Parfenov) and to disguise the affiliation of Paritet Consult and IstokKapital. In this story, the first firm was assigned the role of a financial center, and the second – a loss-making asset. This allowed businessmen to deprive IstokKapital of the ability to pay bills through proxies.
“The initiation of bankruptcy proceedings by the debtor under control, the establishment of the claims of interested creditors in the register (“Paploma Holdings Limited” and Kolesnik), the establishment by the debtor and interested creditors of the candidature of the arbitration manager is aimed at total control over bankruptcy. At the same time, the initiation of bankruptcy and the introduction of bankruptcy proceedings is an attempt to create a situation where you can get rich at the expense of the rehabilitated Bank, ”the ATB statement, included in the case file, says.
A similar opinion is shared by Rosfinmonitoring. In its report (available to Oktagon.Sibir), the service draws attention to suspicious transactions, which “may indicate that there are signs that unscrupulous individuals use the institution of the judiciary in order to obtain enforcement documents for transactions with funds, the actual purpose of which may be carrying out illegal financial activities and giving a legal form to the possession and disposal of funds, the legality of the acquisition of which is not confirmed.
The experts of the Central Bank of Russia, who were present at the meetings as a third party, stated that there were no grounds for bringing ATB to subsidiary liability. During inspections at the Moscow office of Paploma Holdings Limited, they revealed dubious financial transactions and numerous violations (the findings are at the disposal of Oktagon.Sibir).
“We believe that the Paploma Holdings Limited Company, Paritet Consult LLC (the assignee by virtue of the assignment agreement Yu. participated in the increase in the equity capital of Plus Bank PJSC, therefore, there is reason to believe that the claims of the Paploma Holdings Limited Company and Paritet Consult LLC to the Debtor stem from intra-corporate relations (hidden compensatory financing of a credit institution through the Debtor),” says in the document.
Additional capitalization from Kazakhstan
In August 2010, 9 percent of the shares of Plus Bank PJSC was acquired by Kazakhstan’s Tsesnabank. Later, he increased his share, first to 30.3 percent, and then to 98.9 percent, becoming the main shareholder of the credit institution by 2016. Judging by the official reporting, four months before the first transaction, Alexander Konopasevich and Alexei Parfenov joined the board of directors of Plus Bank. Their appointment preceded a sort of expansion by the Kazakh systemically important bank. At that time, the Tsesna corporation belonged to the son of the former head of the administration of the first president of Kazakhstan, Dauren Zhaksybek, with whom Konopasevich and Parfenov were closely connected long before joining Plus Bank. There are many publications on the network with photographs taken during their joint ascent of Kilimanjaro. In addition, Alexey Parfyonov during the year combined the positions of general manager in the representative office of the Tsesna corporation in Moscow and managing director in Plus Bank.
In the course of court proceedings, it was established that in 2016 Tsesnabank financed (including through Paploma Holdings Limited) KA Capital Invest LLC, affiliated with Alexei Parfyonov, for a total amount of about 250 million rubles for the subsequent replenishment of these working capital funds of Plus Bank (in 2020, the new management of Tsesnabank initiated the recovery of this money from Capital Invest).
In 2017, a credit institution from Kazakhstan allocated another 3.4 billion rubles to Plus Bank by increasing the authorized capital of its subsidiary.
IstokKapital, being affiliated with Alexander Konopasevich, presumably could also be used to replenish the working capital of Plus Bank from Kazakhstan. At the same time, in the period from 2010 to 2016, at the expense of Tsesnabank, the ex-management of Plus Bank implemented a number of projects, the total amount of debt for which amounted to over 8 billion rubles. The money received in this way from Istok Capital, apparently, could be withdrawn from the bank by issuing bad loans. Such thoughts are suggested by the fact that after 2016, Plus Bank repeatedly experienced a shortage of working capital, which required additional subsidies from Tsesnabank. Because of such infusions, the credit organization subsequently had to be saved at the expense of public funds of Kazakhstan.