March 1, 2021

Spanish Justice investigates the purchase of Dia by Fridman



The Spanish Justice investigates if the Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman acted through a «Criminal corporate network» to cause the price of the shares of the DIA group to fall and thus take control of the company at a lower cost.

Thus it appears in a car issued by the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, in which it specifies that the case will finally be the responsibility of the Central Court of Instruction number four of the National Court.

The document refers to a police report that points out that Fridman -today largest shareholder of DIA with 69.76% of the titles and that is also investigated by the ZED group bankruptcy– He is the maximum person in charge of a plot that generated in the company «a situation of conflict, caused situations of blockade and lack of liquidity in the short term so that its quotation fell»

In the car it is stated that the strategy was intendedkeep "high financial strain" so that the share price remains low, until finishing launching a purchase offer by the company once depreciated through the LetterOne company.

The police report has indicated that the plot «mix of natural and legal persons of various nationalities -among them, Norwegian merchants-, which increases the complexity of the research work ». In addition, researchers have warned that "in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, operations by this businessman are closely supervised, which is not the case in Spain."

National audience

The Supreme Court justifies its decision that it is the Central Court of Instruction number four of the National Court that takes charge of the case by, among other factors, the "suspicion" that "property damage" has occurred that affects shareholders and workers of DIA in different Spanish regions, with an impact still to be calculated, but exceeding 7 million euros.

At its height, The High Court has added that «The complexity of the facts and the future instruction», in the event that it finally occurs, it is convenient that the Hearing be responsible for a file whose origin lies "in an anonymous complaint," according to the document.

The Central Court number four decided not to admit the complaint for lack of competition on March 5 and it was inhibited in favor of the courts of Madrid, who refused to take charge on the 29th of that same month, considering that it was the competence of the Court. The dispute ended in the Supreme Court, which has given the reason to the courts of Madrid and leaves the file in the hands of the National Court.

In his car, the magistrates of the Supreme They recalled that DIA was quoting at the time of the events in IBEX 35, the main selective of the Spanish stock market, so the plot could have affected the national economy, altering the price of a firm "important in a basic sector such as food."

In fact, they point out that the evolution of prices in the food trade sector is "vital" for people with fewer resources, so «In this case there is an impact on the economy more intense than in cases like those of Afinsa or Dentix, which has led them or peacefully leads the National Court.

After 18 months as a minority shareholder, Fridman launched an opa on the DIA supermarket chain last February, which ended up successfully closing in May.

Signature It was quoted around 5 euros when the Russian tycoon took a 10% stake, in July 2017; Since then its price fell sharply to 45 cents today, as a result of a serious crisis that placed the distribution group – which in addition to Spain also operates in Argentina, Brazil and Portugal – on the verge of bankruptcy.


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