A London court establishes a conflict of interest between the directors of VTB. Empreno vows to continue to pursue a reversal of the auction process

The High Court of Justice in London established the existence of a conflict of interest between the directors of the mortgaging company V2 Investment Sarl, appointed by VTB and obstructing the lawsuit filed in July 2018 by the directors of this company appointed by Empreno.  Although in its decision the court did not confirm the authority of the two appointed Empreno directors to file a claim on behalf of V2 Investment Sarl for procedural reasons (lack of necessary corporate approval), a step-by-step instruction follows from the court decision on how such a claim can be approved and resumed.

In particular, the court confirmed the correct reading of Empreno's shareholder agreement regarding the possibility of filing a claim by Empreno directors on behalf of V2 Investment Sarl. In the near future, Empreno intends to meet all the court’s requirements for the proper approval of the lawsuit, to reopen the old ones and initiate new processes on behalf of V2 Investment Sarl, including by filing a lawsuit in Luxembourg.

“Empreno Ventures Ltd is satisfied with both the current decision of the High Court of Justice of London as well as the general course of the trials in connection with the artificial auction held in 2015 by VTB Capital to sell Vivacom,” says Empreno beneficiary Dmitry Kosarev.

Еmpreno representatives underline that despite the substantive hearing has not yet been held, the evidence confirming the fraudulent nature of the auction for the sale of Vivacom is growing rapidly. Thus, during a hearing in May 2019, testimony by Jocelyn Bennett, an American citizen living in Switzerland, was presented. Ms. Bennett, who was the trustee of Spas Rusev family trust, confirmed all Empreno's allegations against VTB Capital and other defendants. 

In particular, in the witness statement provided, Ms. Bennett stated that the auction was falsified and held for appearance’s sake only: the buyer - the so-called “investor consortium” of Viva Telecom (Luxembourg) SA led by Bulgarian businessman Spas Rusev - was known in advance. Mr. Rusev “fronted” VTB Capital without having the means even to pay a deposit to participate in the auction: all the money was provided by VTB. In addition, the purchase was made at a significantly reduced price in order to quickly resell the asset at a market price to an already known strategic buyer (Orange).

As Mr. Kosarev notes, the company intends to use Ms. Bennett’s testimony in subsequent trials in various jurisdictions, including England, Luxembourg and the United States. The testimony of Ms. Bennett will also be used within the ongoing Empreno’s own lawsuit pending since February 2016 in the High Court of Justice in London against VTB Capital and Viva Telecom (Luxembourg) SA, Rusev and others for the recovery of damages caused by the missed opportunity to purchase Vivacom. Empreno underlines that in February 2018, the High Court of Justice in London ruled that the case for this lawsuit would be considered on its merits.