Kiev court uphold IBRC rights to Ukraina shopping mall
Assignment had effectively transferred control of the shopping centre that has been pledged by the Quinn family as security for €2 billion in borrowings from IBRC
Seán Quinn: The Northern Ireland court had ruled that the debt over the mall was illegally transferred from Demesne Investments Ltd, of which Seán Quinn snr was director, to Lyndhurst Development Trading Ltd in the British Virgin Islands. Photograph; The Irish Times
The last in a series of court actions in the Ukraine to uphold the legal rights of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) over the Ukraina shopping mall in Kiev has ended with a commercial court in Kiev quashing an earlier ruling on a series of debt assignments worth $45 million (€34 million) to a British Virgin Island firm.
The assignment had effectively transferred control of the shopping centre that has been pledged by the Quinn family as security for €2 billion in borrowings from IBRC.
The ruling was based on new evidence lawyers representing IBRC had filed in a new motion following a Kiev court of appeals ruling in June that upheld a Belfast High Court decision that said the debt assignments were “null and void”.
The Northern Ireland court had ruled that the debt over the mall was illegally transferred from Demesne Investments Ltd, of which Seán Quinn snr was director, to Lyndhurst Development Trading Ltd in the British Virgin Islands. Ukrainian courts then approved the debt’s transfer to an Ukrainian brokerage, Elegant Invest, via Zenit.
The current management board chairman of Ukraina, Rostyslav Levinzon, said the commercial court ruling ends the long process of restoring IBRC’s nearly 93 per cent ownership rights over the mall.
IBRC’s litigation win may have come belatedly: Mr Levinzon said the mall’s former management, led by Laryssa Yanez Puga and up to 10 of her “close allies”, illegally transferred some $15 million from Ukraina’s accounts in 2010-2012 to Lyndhurst, Zenit and Elegant Invest.
The first instalments worth $5 million were transferred to Lyndhurst at the end of 2011 and “could’ve ended up in the hands of Quinn family members”, said Levinzon. A spokesperson for the Quinn family said they had no comment to make on the matter.
In February, two Ukrainians were found in contempt by a Belfast court for flouting a December 2011 injunction for their role in stripping the 42,000sq/m mall’s assets via Lyndhurst. The court ordered Oleksandr Serpokrylov and Dmytro Zaitsev to pay £15,000 each in six months or face four weeks in prison for not doing so. They are believed to reside in Ukraine.