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Bank of Saint Petersburg Reluctantly Revealed Its Connection with Valentina Matvienko

Bank of Saint Petersburg Reluctantly Revealed Its Connection with Valentina Matvienko

March 22

Justice Hildyard of the High Court of England and Wales continues proceedings on suit of Bank St. Petersburg vs Russian businessmanVitaly Arkhangelsky and Arkhangelsky's counterclaim against the bank.

Last week, Alexander Saveliev, of the former chairman of the Bank's board, was cross-examined for three days. Answering the questions of Arkhangelsky's representative, he told the court that he was the CEO in 2001-14, and it was a period of the Bank's rapid growth at the rate of up to 100% a year.For most part of that period, in 2003-11, the governor of St Petersburg was Valentina Matvienko.

Savelyev admitted that Matvienko was one of his old friends. Together they founded the KomAvtoServis Company and were business partners for "very short time" before he came to the bank in 2001.

When Mrs Matvienko served as the governor, her son Sergeiwas a vice-president of the Bank responsible for the installation of hardware and the Bankir software. At the same time Sergey Matvienko was aBSP significant shareholder. Savelyev explained that the shares were promise to Sergei Matvienko when he was invited to join the Bank. It was a kind of reward for implementation of the Bankirsoftware. Until 2006, he held 5%-8% of the BSP shares. After several issues his shareholding was diluted and reduced to 3%. Then he passed the shares to his father Vladimir Matvienko.

Savelyev pointed out that "Vladimir Matvienko received those shares as a gift from his son", a good son who takes care of his parents.He denied the son was and the father still is a nominee while the actual shareholder of the bank has been Valentina Matvienko.

Savelyev admitted that he and Sergey Matvienko were partners in a number of business projects, but he could not recall the names of those projects.

Savelyev called a "coincidence" the BSP's rapid development in the time of Valentina Matvienko's governorship. He denied her involvement in the Bank's business. He stressed that the BSP's success was a result of hard work rather that the city administration's benevolence.

Savelyev, who now heads the Bank's supervisory board,also answered questions about the BSP's connections with the family of the former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.

* * *

The bank claims that Arkhangelsky, who, together with his family, left Russia in 2009 and was granted political asylum in France, did not settle with creditors and tries to recover a debt.

Archangelsky in his statement of claim says that during the global financial crisis the bank agreed to defer payment on loans for six months. As a collateral, the bank demanded Archangelsky to transfer the shares of companies that were a part of his Oslo Marine Group - West Terminal port complex and Scandinavia insurance company, the owner of a half of Onega terminal. Before the stipulated term expired, the bank demanded loan repayment and later used its political contacts including top law enforcement officers and St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matvienko, sold the shares to a sister firm at a lower price and changed the executive of Arkhangelsky's companies. He estimates the damages at $500 million.

The course of the trial will be covered by the press-office.

Contact: Natalia Khmelik

The hearing transcripts are available here

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