Russia

The Commercial Court of the Republic of Kalmykia has completed bankruptcy proceedings against a firm believed to be formerly controlled by William Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management, according to court records, RASPINews.com reported. The court has granted a petition lodged by Kirill Nogotkov, a bankruptcy manager of the former Browder’s company. In November 2019, the Sixteenth Commercial Court of Appeals upheld recovery of 388,400 rubles ($5,200) from HSBC Bank and HSBC Management in favor of Dalnaya Step, denying granting its claim in full.

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Severe coronavirus restrictions around the world to contain surging infection rates weighed on fuel sales, weakening the prospect of energy demand recovery in the first half of 2021, Reuters reported. Most of Europe is now under the strictest restrictions, according to the Oxford stringency index, which assesses indicators such as travel bans and the closure of schools and workplaces. The United Kingdom’s new national lockdown is expected to last until mid-February at least.

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The Moscow Commercial Court has again extended the procedure of sale of assets of Vneshprombank former co-owner Georgy Bedzhamov, charged with large-scale embezzlement for 6 months, according to court records, RASPSINews.com reported. Previously, the bankruptcy proceedings were extended in July. Bedzhamov was declared bankrupt in July 2018. In 2016, Bedzhamov was put on the international wanted list on embezzlement charges.

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OneWeb, the satellite internet group recently rescued from bankruptcy, is expecting to clinch a $400m fundraising next month, its executive chairman said as the company marked a return to business with the launch of 36 satellites, the Financial Times reported. Sunil Bharti Mittal, the Indian telecoms tycoon who with the British government has taken control of OneWeb for $1bn, said two satellite operators and a financial group were in late stage discussions about investing. “We are very close . . . maybe a couple of weeks,” Mr Mittal said.

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Israeli-Russian businessman David Sapir has offered to buy joint control of financially strapped El Al Israel Airlines, promising to use his business ties to return Israel’s flag carrier to profitability, Reuters reported. Sapir, whose businesses include infrastructure, telecoms and tourism, has offered to pay $51 million for 190 million new shares in El Al, which is the same amount of shares held by controlling shareholder Knafaim Holdings (KNFM.TA), and a 20% premium to El Al’s closing share price on Tuesday in Tel Aviv.

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Russia’s central bank cut its key interest rate to a record low as the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the economy into a deep recession, forcing President Vladimir Putin this week to delay a flagship $360 billion national development plan by six years. The bank on Friday lowered its benchmark rate by 0.25 percentage point to 4.25%, following a one-percentage-point cut in June to a post-Soviet low. The bank’s move makes lending to businesses and consumers cheaper in an economy hit hard by a twin strike of lockdowns and lower oil prices.

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Board chairman of New Stream oil and gas company and former co-owner of troubled Antipinsky refinery Dmitry Mazurov charged with a 4 billion-ruble embezzlement (about $60 million) has filed a cassation appeal against a ruling declaring him bankrupt, according to the Moscow Commercial Court’s records, RAPSI reported. In mid-June, the Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals declared Mazurov. The ruling was delivered upon an application filed by Persit Services Inc.  Its 2.08-billion-ruble claim was included in Mazurov’s creditor demands list.

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Russian incomes in the second quarter plunged by the most since the country’s 1998 default as the economy of the world’s biggest energy exporter took a double blow from the pandemic and slump in global oil demand, Bloomberg News reported. Real disposable incomes fell 8% between April and June compared with a year ago, the Federal Statistics Service reported Friday. Data for the first quarter, which earlier showed a drop, were revised up to a 1.2% increase. “This situation with incomes is pointing to a lot of problems,” said Evgeny Nadorshin, chief economist at PF Capital in Moscow.

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Russia’s $1.6 trillion economy is going to be dealt another blow when a moratorium is lifted on companies filing for bankruptcy, Bloomberg News reported. The measure, which was a condition of government pandemic support, helped protect healthy businesses from creditors but left those that won’t survive limping along as zombies. It expires in October. “It’s like a life-support machine for companies -- if there isn’t treatment, they will just die when it’s switched off,” said Yuriy Khalimovsky, a director at Deloitte’s legal service in St. Petersburg.

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