Bank24.ru profiteers from GGE, Kommersant claims

Sverdlovsk Region Arbitration Court is now considering the claim laid by Global Gaming Expo (GGE) against Bank24.ru, Kommersant reports. GGE insists on being paid 186 million RUR that the bank allegedly obtained through unjust enrichment. The plaintiff claims the defendant wrote off the sum off GGE’s accounts illegally, which made it impossible for the plaintiff to pay its customers (who gave their savings into GGE’s trust management). Meanwhile, Bank24.ru insists that the sum was written off upon GGE’s request.

According to Kommersant, GGE, founded by a Yekaterinburg businessman Alexei Kalinichenko, specialized in trust management and foreign exchange market transactions. The company stopped paying its customers in August 2006, while its UTG-Account system’s accounts were frozen. Kalinichenko himself fled the country and was detained in Italy a year ago. In Russia, he has been charged with 186 fraud accusations and one money-laundering suit. The Russian authorities believe the businessman stole over a billion RUR from his customers, whereas the suspect declares he has nothing to do with the customers’ losses. The culprits, he insists, are his partners.

Kommersant says GGE started undergoing bankruptcy proceedings in November 2007, but its resources were insufficient to meet the creditors’ claims. The newspapers quotes the trustee in bankruptcy Alla Podgio, who says the company hasn’t got any real estate, land allotments, or vehicles, while there is only 574,000 RUR in its bank accounts. However, GGE’s debts run up to 194 million RUR. This is why Podgio laid a claim against Bank24.ru on GGE’s behalf in the hope of getting this 186 million RUR. The preliminary arbitration court hearing took place last Tuesday.

The newspaper also took care to obtain comments from both the parties involved and the independent legal advisers.

According to GGE’s court representative Oleg Zuev, Bank24.ru had been illegally writing off money from the company’s accounts between March and August 2006; the money was then transferred to other banks, including Alfa-Bank’s Saint Petersburg subsidiary.

The newspaper quotes Zuev as saying that after Alexei Kalinichenko had bought a 20% shareholding in Bank24.ru and became one of the bank’s BOD members, he, GGE, and Bank24.ru signed an agreement enabling the bank to act as an operator on Forex exchange market.

Bank24.ru Chairman of the Supervisory Board Sergey Lapshin, who co-owned the bank at the time of GGE’s bankruptcy, denies all allegations as to the bank’s Forex trading, Kommersant says.

‘Bank24.ru and GGE’s relations were those of a bank and its customer; we only rendered them banking services, and all sorts of transactions were carried out in accordance with the customer’s requests,’ Lapshin informed Kommersant reporters.


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