Russian businessman Dmitry Kosarev, who considers himself the legitimate owner of the Bulgarian telecommunication company, Bulgarian Telecommunications Compamy (BTC, Vivacom brand), filed in London’s High court the claim to investment division of VTB in fact “unlawful seizure and sale of the company to an affiliated party,” reads the official message of the company Empreno Ventures, owned by Kosarev. The lawsuit was filed last week by the law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, which represents the interests of the entrepreneur and his firms Empreno LIC and Telecommunications (LICT).
In addition, the lawyers filed a statement on initiation of legal proceedings in the British Bureau to combat fraud in especially large sizes (SFO), the message says. Financial damage Kosarev and its representatives evaluate a minimum of €250 million, said in a statement. A representative of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson confirmed the fact of filing. Both statements are available , on them is dated “February 22”.
Operator Vivacom has been put up for sale in 2011 due to the inability to service debts — then the largest lenders were Deutsche Bank, Castle Hill, European Investment Bank, Raiffeisen Zentralbank, Royal Bank of Scotland, wrote. During the transactions the creditors have to write off 62,5% of the total debt in the amount of about €1.7 billion, becoming minority shareholders (24%), and new investors, “VTB Capital” and the Bulgarian Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB) — to pay creditors €130 million, taking the debt (about €617 million). “VTB Capital” and CCB received then 33 and 43% stake in the operator, respectively, wrote the portal Cnews. CCB was controlled by the famous Bulgarian businessman Tsvetana Vassilev, who is now a fugitive from Bulgarian law enforcement authorities in Serbia.
“VTB Capital” was also the agent for the loan of €150 million for Vivacom — the loan was provided in 2013 under a pledge of 100% shares of InterV Investment Sarl (Luxembourg offshore InterV is one of a chain of companies that directly or indirectly own 100% of BTC). Due to the default under the loan in may 2015, “VTB Capital” has decided to expose on auction which took place in November 2015, the pledged shares InterV. However, even before this, in July, 43% Vivacom (or rather holding the “heads” of V Telecom Investment SCA), previously owned Vasilevu, bought Dmitry Kosarev through Empreno, say his representatives in the lawsuit. He revealed the deal in October 2015, shortly before the auction.
Auction in Bulgarian
“VTB the Capital” has sold the shares of the operator of a businessman going to Save Rusev, says the lawsuit. Asset Rusev went for €330 million (excluding debt of telecommunication company of €400 million, which he agreed to assume). The plaintiffs believe: “daughter” VTB sold the shares “at an extremely low cost,” “illegally seizing a share of” company LICT in InterV and in collusion with a third party, said in a statement filed with the SFO.
Rusev is a “longtime collaborator” and “affiliated party” VTB Capital plc, the plaintiff claims. He was adviser to ex-Prime Minister of Bulgaria Simeon Saxe-Coburg, who, in particular, presented a future Minister of Finance Milena Velcheva, wrote the local newspaper Sofia Globe. A Velchev oversaw the privatization of BTC (2004), and then headed the Bulgarian office of “VTB Capital”, pointed the edition.
The auction structure Kosareva lost its share (43%) in Vivacom, as well as missed the opportunity to acquire control of the operator and is now requiring them to return the shares InterV or to pay appropriate compensation. Empreno, as alleged in the complaint suggested “VTB Capital” to refinance a loan of €150 million or redeem shares InterV, but did not meet with understanding, and November 20, learned that the auction has already taken place without its involvement and that the shares were purchased by a consortium headed by Rusev, which also included Sam “VTB Capital”. Among other bidders included a consortium of Greek companies and Greek Olympia American Fund Third Point and owner, the European cable operator UPC, mark Schneider, wrote CNews.
Moreover, the protection Kosareva says that the businessman stole not only 43% of Vivacom shares, but still 33% who always publicly claimed he was “VTB Capital”. As explained in the lawsuit, in 2012, the company Crusher Investment, controlled by the “VTB Capital”, and “daughter” CCB signed the so-called total return swap agreement: under its terms, these 33% of the shares were held nominally Crusher, until the structure Vasileva will not pay a certain amount. Payment took place in 2014, but shares not received in TC-IME no Empreno as its successor, the plaintiff claims.
The newspaper “Kommersant” Dmitry Kosarev tied with businessman Konstantin Malofeeva. The representative of “VTB Capital” said Kosarev on behalf of Tsvetana Vasileva. He refers to the document prepared by the lawyers Fried Frank in London, which stated that Kosarev and Vasilev “collected funds will be shared in the ratio of 80 to 20%”.
“Vasilev tries to prevent legitimate acts performed by “VTB Capital” due to non-payment of credit debt holding company of BTC,” insists a representative of the company. He also says that the loan “VTB Capital” provided 100% stake in Vivacom. “Taking into account the legal issues associated with the conflict Vasileva from the Bulgarian government, the only acceptable method to establish the fair value of asset — carrying out the competitive auction, which took place last year”, — said the representative of “VTB Capital”.
BTC is the largest telecommunication company in Bulgaria, which deals with fixed and mobile communication. The staff is more than 3.5 thousand people. Revenue for the first nine months of 2015 of approximately $345 million.