Kyiv’s Ukraina mall seeks $15 million from former managers linked to Irish ex-billionaire Sean Quinn Sr.
The Ukraina shopping mall‘s management alleged that some $15 million was illegally transferred from accounts in an asset stripping scheme implemented by Laryssa Yanez Puga, the former manager, and “her close allies.”
Management at Kyiv’s lucrative Ukraina shopping mall announced it will demand $15 million in compensation that it says was illegally transferred in 2010-2012 by Laryssa Yanez Puga, Ukraina’s former manager, and up to ten of her “close allies,” a press release said.
KIEV – Ukraine is being pulled in two directions — on the one hand, towards Russia and its so-called Customs Unions, on the other towards the European Union. Time is running out for Kiev to decide which path to take.
According to Christopher Weil, the German ambassador in Ukraine, freeing Yulia Tymoshenko would be extremely welcome to EU members, and would likely be a major step towards an agreement between Brussels and Kiev — a precursor to Ukraine’s integration into the European Union.
Weil said that if Tymoshenko is released, an agreement could be signed as soon as November, during a planned summit of the “Eastern Partnership,” an organization of former Soviet-block countries that are potential candidates for EU members.
This would only be the first step in a long process towards membership in the European Union. It’s not clear how many years, or decades, eventual membership might take for Ukraine. Right now, Europe is only offering initial observer status, rather than full participation in the elite club, and with uncertainty about the longterm conditions of joining. On the other hand, if Ukraine were to sign on to Russia’s trade pact, it would immediately have the same rights and standing as all of the other members.
It might seem natural to opt for the latter, but there are good arguments in favor of Europe, starting with the fact that the total market of the EU is nearly ten times as large as that of the Customs Union, which is made up of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Still, there is no existing market for Ukrainian goods in the European market, and the country’s large agricultural sector would likely come under strict control, while there are still economic connections that date back to Soviet times between Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Finally, Russia has made it very clear that entering its Customs Union is absolutely necessary if Ukraine wants lower gas prices.
While all this is going on, the country’s economic situation grows desperate. Although politicians strike an optimistic tone in public, in conversations with Kommersant, local and national leaders all admitted the dire situation.
“There is no money in the country. Pretty soon the government won’t have the resources to pay salaries or pensions,” said political scientist Konstantin Matvienko. “Neither the IMF or Russia is in a rush to provide a line of credit. The European Union also has its own problems to worry about. The situation is looking like a dead end.”
Viktor Yanukovich continues to negotiate between Moscow and Brussels, looking for the best conditions. But the problem is that nobody is that excited to be negotiating with Kiev. Both Russia and the EU are just dictating their conditions — the Kremlin wants Ukraine to enter the Customs Union, the EU wants political liberalization and freedom for Yulia Tymoshenko.
According to experts, mercy for his most important political competitor is not part of Yanukovich’s plans. Instead, he is already looking ahead to the next national elections, which aren’t until 2015. “In a situation where the standard of living is falling and discontent is rising, the only way to win the election is to shatter the opposition, weaken it, and bring the most odious of the opposition representatives to the second round of voting, so that next to him or her Yanukovich will seem like the lesser evil,” says Ukrainian political scientist Dmitrii Ponamarchuk.
Of all the opposition figures, the most “odious” is obviously Oleg Tyagnyibok, the head of the ultra-nationalist movement called “Freedom”, which got more than 10 percent of the vote in the parliamentary elections last October. With his extreme anti-Russian sentiments, Tyagnyibok undoubtedly will repel most of the electorate in the Russian-speaking southeast, as well as a large part of the Ukrainian-speaking center.
Freeing Tymoshenko, as the EU insists, could spoil everything. The “Princess” of Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution is still the most important symbol of opposition to Yankovich and his partners. If allowed to run, she has a decent chance of coming out ahead of Tyagnyibok, making it to the second round and winning over Yanukovich. That is why Ukrainian President is unlikely to play by the rules Berlin and Brussels are dictating. Alternative solutions include Yanukovich agreeing to let Tymoshenko off, but delaying her release until after the elections are over.
Either way, we can be sure that Europe will be watching — and Russia too.
Ireland take note
What are the chances of Fracking coming to Ireland? If the big boys want it I feel one hundred per cent sure the government will acquiesce to their demands with prodding from the IMF but no equal share for Ireland
A deal of equal shares!!! Suspect Shell are not telling the full story
A fifty year deal… I smell a rat
Under the $10bn deal that drew attention of the industry, Shell and Ukraine’s state-owned firm Nadra Yuzivska have equal shares in the enterprise, 50% each.
The latest deal is anticipated to help Ukraine increase its domestic gas production, create jobs, boost state budget revenue, and lift the economy.
Reuters noted that the 50-year contract is “the biggest contract yet to tap shale gas in Europe,” and added that the deal would help the country reduce its dependence on Russia for energy.
In May 2012, Shell had won the right to explore gas in Yuzivske gas field in Ukraine, while in August 2012, Shell along with ExxonMobil, Romanian OMV Petrom and Nadra have received joint rights to develop underwater deposits at Ukrainian deep marine shelf field under the Black Sea.
CONTROL OF rental income of approximately $20 million (€15.5 million) a year from a Moscow building formerly owned by Seán Quinn’s family has been secured for the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), but further income of up to $15 million (€11.6 million) a year continues to elude the State-owned bank.
An administrator acting for the bank’s interest has managed to get charge of the Kutuzoff Tower in Moscow and is now seeking to establish what happened to rent of approximately $30 million in the period since the bank’s relationship with the Quinns broke down in April 2010.
The buildings form part of an international property portfolio worth approximately €500 million owned by the Quinns and against which Anglo Irish Bank was given security in return for huge loans issued to the family.
Anglo is now part of the IBRC.
In June and July last year, the High Court in Dublin ordered the family to desist in its efforts to put the assets beyond the bank’s reach.
Earlier this year Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne found that Seán Quinn, his son Seán jnr, and his nephew, Peter Darragh Quinn, had acted in contempt of this order. Seán Quinn jnr was sent to jail, where he remains. There is a warrant out for Peter Darragh Quinn, who is believed to be in Northern Ireland.
The bank asked that Mr Quinn snr not be jailed so he might assist the bank recover some of the assets.
The courts reopen for the new law term on Monday and a number of hearings in relation to the Quinns are scheduled over the coming weeks.
The bank is seeking to establish the whereabouts of $4.5 million in accumulated rent that was moved from a Quinn family company account in Moscow last year, to an account in a new bank also in the company’s name. It is understood the money is no longer in that second account.
The administrator acting for the bank in Moscow has encountered difficulties in accessing the management records of the company that operates the commercial tower for the period up to his appointment.
The bank is also investigating an €11 million loan that was issued by a bank in India in January against the future income of the Q Tower.
This money is believed to be under the control of a company in the United Arab Emirates.
The bank believes that family members, with seemingly no involvement in the running of the Russian company, were put on its payroll and received $4.3 million gross as a result.
The family could not be contacted for comment last night.
The bank would make no comment.