Capital: Mark Schneider: I am still interested in purchasing BTC

Capital: Mark Schneider: I am still interested in purchasing BTC

On November 20th last year BTC ended up with new predetermined owner. The Bulgarian businessman Spas Rusev acquired control over the telecom in partnership with the Russian financial group VTB for EUR 330 million. The change in the ownership will be realized through the registered in Luxembourg Viva Telecom, which buys 100% of the registered in Luxembourg company InterV Investment. It holds the full ownership of BTC through the intermediate company. The sale was rather peculiar due to the fact that the seller VTB was also a buyer, and according to people close to the deal the bank provided to Rusev the large part of the financing, and according to others – even the entire amount. The payment of the price and the transfer of ownership is expected to be finalized sometime next week.

Before the auction shareholders in BTC were Tsvetan Vasilev with 43.33%, VTB with 33.33%, and the rest 23.33% belonged to a group of creditors of the telecom, headed by Michael Tanenbaum, as the ownership passed through a complex chain of companies. In November 2013, the operator through InterV took a bridge loan in the amount of EUR 150 million from VTB. The maturity date was on 22 May 2015, at the time when Tsvetan Vasilev already had his bank bankrupt and was prosecuted by the Bulgarian state. VTB decided to check in its collateral under the loan – 100% of the shares of the owner of BTC – InterV Investment. According to the bridge loan agreement, the bank is obliged to organize a procedure on the sale of InterV Investment, and not to simply utilize it. 

The Evening Standard Covers Empreno's Legal Action against VTBC

Published in the The Evening Standard on February 3, 2016

VTB, meanwhile, has other issues of its own. The former owner of Bulgaria’s largest telecoms company, Vivacom, complained to the Serious Fraud Office this week, accusing VTB of allegedly seizing its stake in Vivacom and selling it “in a very substantial commercial fraud”. Vivacom’s main shareholder, Dmitry Kosarev, is also suing VTB for damages of more than €143 million for allegedly selling it far below its true value. VTB says the claims “have absolutely no credibility or legal basis” and doesn’t expect them to go any further. But maybe it will find Ghavami’s obvious courtroom expertise handy...


“VTB decided who to win the tender already three months ago" - believes the businessman Dmitry Kosarev

The Russian businessman Dmitry Kosarev, who owns 76% of the shares in the Bulgarian telecom operator Vivacom, opposes the forcible takeover of his company. According to the businessman, the attack against him is led by the top managers of the bank VTB Capital (Bulgaria) Milen and George Velchevi along with some corrupt politicians. As Dmitry Kosarev himself said in an interview with the journalist of "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" Arthur Melkonyan, the strength of his opponents does not scare him, he is prepared to use all legal means to fight them.