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Severneft avoids paying the debt


Severneft turned out to be too tough for creditors. Parex banka tries to recover $111 million from the company. An affiliate company of Alba Alliance also fought Severneft in courts for $137 million, but sold the claim at the price discounted by more than two thirds.

Parex banka has been trying to recover $111,3 million from Severneft structures belonging to Zhan Hudoynatov, brother of Eduard Hudoynatov, president of Rosneft. But the Latvian bank was not the only creditor of the Russian company. In 2007, CommerzbankAG opened a facility, for an undisclosed amount, for Severneft. And several months later the company pledged to the bank 16 trial and operational bores, as well as buildings and equipment, valued at 4,1 billion roubles ($137 million according to the yesterday’s rate).

Last year Severneft initiated negotiations with Eurochem on selling its assets to it. According to the information on the case published on the website of the Court of Arbitration of Yamalo-Nenetsky Autonomous District, a Cypriot company Lopilato Investments Ltd. laid its own claim to the property pledged to Commerzbank around this time. Lopilato Investments Ltd. is a 100% affiliate of the “Alba Alliance” bank owned by Dmitry Piatkin and Alexander Frayman, informs the Central Bank website.

From the materials of the court case follows that in 2010 the company purchased from Commerzbank the claim under the agreements with Severneft. In July 2011, Lopilato demanded in court that the property of Severneft on the amount of pledged assets and the shares of the company’s shareholders – Krini Holding of Switzerland and SoulStar Trading of Great Britain (90 and 10% of the shares of Severneft respectively) - be sold on public auctions. Lopilato suggested fixing the initial price for these holdings of stock at 13950 and 1550 roubles, respectively.

But Lopilato did not manage to exact the sale of the assets. And in October Kinson International Corp. purchased the claim under the Severneft facility from Lopilato Investments for $40 million. After that, all claims against the Russian company were dropped. The ruling by the Eighth Arbitration Court of Appeal mentions that the representative of Kinson International stated that Severneft initiated the payments under the facility; therefore it was no longer necessary to go to courts.

It is not known, why Severneft did not settle the debt to Parex banka, Commerzbank and the affiliate of “Alba Alliance”, but agreed to pay Kinson International – Vedomosti could not find beneficiaries or representatives of this company. Commerzbank did not answer the enquiry by Vedomosti, Frayman refused to comment on the issue.

Arthur Rokhlin, Partner at the Firm, says: “The new “owner” of the debt might have some leverage against the borrower, since the latter started paying. Another variant is also possible: sometimes companies close to the borrower himself purchase debts in order to avoid new claims”.

The publication is based on the article “Severneft avoids paying the debt” published in “Vedomosti” newspaper No. 31 (3045) dated 21.02.2012.

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