April 14, 2021

The National Court charges the new owner of Dia for the bankruptcy of the Zed Group



The judge of the National Court Manuel García Castellón has agreed to cite the Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, top shareholder of the Dia supermarket chain, as an investigator – previously charged – for his alleged leadership in a financial operation that led to bankruptcy. Spanish company Zed WorlWide, as reported by legal sources to Europa Press.

The head of the Central Court of Instruction number 6 has agreed to investigate the Russian investor, after the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor requested in a letter in which he considers Fridman as the person who controlled a whole series of "maneuvers" and "economic asphyxiation" of Spanish technology to acquire it for 20 million euros, a price well below that of the market.

For this reason, the investigating judge has summoned him to testify in this case, where the former president of Zed Javier Pérez-Dolset is also investigated, so that he can contribute his version on the series of actions he carried out in relation to this commercial.

In 2017, in the Hanta operation for which Pérez Dolset was arrested, Anticorruption prosecutors José Grinda and Carlos Yáñez already detailed the "criminal method" called Reiderstvo, or in English, raiding that Russian Zed WorldWide investors used to sink the company and gain control over paying a ridiculous price.

In November of that year, a few months after the case was exploited, Fridman sent a letter to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office in which he disclaimed any responsibility in business decisions that could have resulted in the insolvency of Zed Worldwide.

"Direct power" of Fridman, according to the Police

However, a recent police report that works in the summary and to which Europa Press had access questions that version by holding, with a detailed analysis of the operation of the companies as well as with WhatsApp messages and emails from different stakeholders, that Fridman it has "the factual and direct power" over the directors and the decisions they adopted causing a property damage to the Spanish shareholders of Zed.

Thus, from the analysis of all the information obtained throughout this instruction, the prosecutor José Grinda considers that the Russian investor led that criminal practice known as 'raider' (assault or attack) or illegal absorption of companies, so he asked that your investigation.

The Anticorruption brief states that the purpose of Fridman's decisions was "the total seizure of a company through a complex procedure that uses actions of different intensity, executed in various lines and culminating in a situation of institutional and economic blockade of the company (insolvency), to acquire it at a ridiculous price much lower than the market price. "

Privilege position

The representative of the Public Ministry describes all the operations carried out and highlights that the Russian businessman reached a "privileged position against any type of decision" of the Zed Group when he became one of the main creditors of the company in 2013.

And, as stated in the letter, the Amsterdam Trade Bank lending entity, one of which lent money to the technology to carry out the 'Zeus Project', with which it was planned to go public in the US market Nasdaq , belonged to a group whose owner is Fridman.

To all this was added to an action of "economic pressure and drowning" for Zed WorlWide developed by other Russian partners of Fridman, with which an "illegal strategy of interruption of dividend payments of Russian subsidiaries that resulted in to a total lack of liquidity, "says the prosecutor.

On the other hand, other companies of Fridman, Vimpelcom, took advantage of the situation of "uncontrol and irregularity" in which the Zed Group was already "to reduce or eliminate" the contracts signed with the Cypriot group Temafon, of which the technological de Pérez-Dolset had acquired 50.10% of its capital in 2009, with no record that there had been a breach of the objective, or even a faulty provision of the agreed obligations.

"Economic suffocation"

According to the prosecutor, the objective was to achieve "economic suffocation" of Zed with the "loss of capital in alleged illegal commissions." In this regard, it stands out that Fridman was aware of the credit obligations that the Spanish group had contracted, as well as his "inability to meet said loan if there was a significant reduction in income from the Russian market."

The situation of corporate paralysis, the lack of liquidity, the blocking of external investors led the Spanish company to insolvency, which resulted in a request for a declaration of insolvency by Zed WorlWide on June 30, 2016. Four months later, Russian investors submitted a purchase offer for an amount of 20 million euros, well below what it was when the "maneuvers" of Mikhail Fridman began.

. (tagsToTranslate) Audience (t) National (t) Fridman (t) DAY (t) Zed



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