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Court verdict on Arkhangelsky’s case: Guilt of Matvienko and Bank St. Petersburg "not proven"

Court verdict on Arkhangelsky’s case: Guilt of Matvienko and Bank St. Petersburg

On 9 May, in the High Court of London and Wales, Judge Hildyard announced the decision on the claim of the bank "St. Petersburg" against businessman Vitaly Arkhangelsky and Arhangelsky's counterclaim against BSP.

It took the Judge about two years to write the 600-page decision.

In his counterclaim, Arkhangelsky accused the Bank of raiding of his business, the Oslo Marine Group, back in 2009, with the active support of Valentina Matviyenko, then the governor of St. Petersburg, and now chairman of the upper House of Russian Parliament, the Council of Federation .

In a detailed judgement, the Judge established a number of facts which, in his opinion, "almost inevitably raise suspicions" with concern of the Bank. The Judge summed up those facts in 10 points in paragraph 1635 of his decision:

(1) The repo agreement was written in a manner which put the Oslo Marin “enhanced risk in the event of default” (and that risk later materialised).

(2) Contrary to the Bank’s and Savelyev’s statements, “in reality” they “almost certainly owned or controlled” the Renord-Invest group companies.

(3) The fact that the Bank and Savelyev“ were able to and did call upon the police and regional authorities to assist them take possession of Western Terminal in circumstances” that “do smack of intimidation and abuse of position”.

(4) The resignation and the failure to appear before the court of the “principal actress and key witness”, the former vice-president of the Bank Irina Malysheva.

(5) “The chorus of plainly false evidence she orchestrated in the context of the Morskoy Bank proceedings.”

(6) The “extraordinary” fact that at the time of auctioning of the Oslo Marin assets, all the participants in “any of the auctions” were under “common control”. “But for a limitation period the auctions would likely have been held invalid,” the Judge noted.

(7) In the Judge’s opinion, “in the war between the parties, all sense of commercial reasonableness was lost on both sides”. The Bank and Savelyev “opportunistically and in some respects ruthlessly, pursue their own commercial objectives” with only “formal compliance” to the Russian law, and “have personally profited in the result”.

(8) “The fact that there have been numerous examples of state-orchestrated or assisted ‘raids’ in the Russian Federation, of which there are at least disconcerting echoes in this case.”

(9) The Bank and Savelyev have not revealed any information about about the “present trading and financial position of Western Terminal and Onega Terminal”, and this fact raises suspicions that those assets are of “far greater value than they have accounted for”.

(10) The Judge recognised that “not all the truth” was established during the trial.

The court nevertheless decided that the facts proved by Arkhangelsky were not enough to draw a conclusion about the fraudulent scheme applied by the Bank and Savelyev.

The court also dismissed Arkhangelsky's evidence concerning the BSP’s forgery of his signatures on some of the submitted documents, including his personal guarantees for loans to Oslo Marin companies. Thus, the Bank’s claim guarantees was sustained.

At the same time, the Judge strongly criticized and dismissed the Bank's claim against Yulia Arkhangelskaya, with regards of the property assigned to her in the marriage contract with her husband.

Vitaly Arkhangelsky said: "My representative fought alone against a large team of expensive London lawyers. His arguments in the court were stronger, but he obviously was in disadvantage when writing the papers, since he, I repeat, worked alone, while a whole “football team” prepared the documents on the BSP side. As the Judge had been writing the decision since June 2016, he, unfortunately, relied mainly on the papers.

“The facts already established by the court give every ground for the conclusion about the Bank’s and Saveliev’s fraud. I'm going to appeal.

* * *

Bank St. Petersburg claims that Arkhangelsky, who left Russia with his family in 2009 and received political asylum in France, did not pay off the loans, and is trying to recover his debts.

In his counterclaim, Arkhangelsky said that, during the global financial crisis, he and the Bank arranged a six-month debt moratorium. As additional collateral, the bank demanded to transfer the shares of Arkhangelsky’s Oslo Marine group companies - the Western Terminal  port terminal complex and the Scandinavia insurance company which owned half of the Onega terminal - in its name. Before the agreed period expired, the Bank demanded the loan repayment and then, using its political contacts including the heads of law enforcement agencies and the governor of St. Petersburg Valentina Matvienko, sold shares at a low price to affiliated entities and replaced the managers of Arkhangelsky’s companies. The businessman estimates the damage at $500 million.

For more details go to: https://bloger.net.ua/full-text-of-judgement

The full Judgement you can download here

Press service contact: Natalia Khmelik natalya.hmelik@gmail.com

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