Ukraine war among reasons for fall-out of business partners, court hears

Food businesses had been successfully run for years by Ukranian and ethnic Russian businessmen

The High Court has heard Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago is one of the reasons for a falling out of partners in a business that imports and sells eastern European food products in Ireland.

The court heard Alexandr Vakiy and Max Bulgakov had been partners, directors and shareholders in Dublin-registered Maxala Limited, which imports and distributes Eastern European food and EastDeli Limited, which is involved in the retail of said products.

On Friday, Mr Justice Mark Sanfey was told by Bernard Dunleavy SC, appearing with Naill Ó hUiginn BL, for Mr Vakiy, said the businesses had been successfully run by his client a Ukranian and Mr Bulgakov, an ethnic Russian, for several years.

Counsel said that in recent times differences emerged between the two and Russia’s war in Ukraine has led to apparently irreconcilable differences between the two parties.


Mr Dunleavy said his client has taken proceedings under the 2014 Companies Act alleging he has been oppressed as a shareholder of the companies by the respondent.

The alleged acts include a refusal by the respondent to sign Maxala’s annual return for the year ending 2022. It is claimed this could damage that company.

It is also alleged that in 2021 the respondent blocked Mr Vakiy’s access to Maxala’s bank accounts while the plaintiff was in Ukraine.

It is also claimed that Mr Bulgakov stopped attending for work and ceased participating at board meetings.

The respondent has denied any wrongdoing in those proceedings which are pending before the High Court.

Counsel said it was hoped alleged acts of oppression, which also include claims that unauthorised payments have been out of the companies’ accounts to third parties, will cease pending the determination of the proceedings.

Counsel said his client is seeking further orders after a recent discovery that money was transferred out of one of the businesses’ bank accounts without any prior notice.

Counsel said that his client had also been unable to obtain access to aspects of the businesses’ online platforms that would allow the firms to participate in the government’s Deposit Return Scheme recycling initiative.

Mr Vakiy seeks further orders against Mr Bulgakov including injunctions restraining him from transferring money from the businesses’ bank accounts without 72 hours notice and an invoice to substantiate such a transfer.

The plaintiff also seeks an order directing Mr Bulgakov to provide login credentials and passwords to allow Mr Vakiy to fully operate the businesses’ digital platforms.

He claims that he has been blocked from accessing critical aspects of the businesses’ software by Mr Oleg Schnell and his company Schnelll Systems GmbH, who, he alleges, is Mr Bulgakov’s associate.

If necessary Mr Vakiy seeks to join Mr Schnell and his company as respondents to the action.

The judge granted the plaintiff permission, on an ex parte basis, to serve short notice of the injunction application on the respondent.

The matter will return before the court next week.

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