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Owners of Rivne foundry claim attempts made to illegally seize company

The attempts to return CJSC Rivne foundry's property to state ownership initiated by officials of its shareholders - Rivne Tractor Unit Plant - represent an illegal seizure of the company, as Rivne foundry does not have a state-owned stake in the shareholders' capital, the Kharkiv-based Vostok firm that owns the CJSC has said.

The founder and head of Vostok Illia Koshkin said at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on Wednesday that the situation had been created to fulfil an order from the local authorities and take the property from its legal owners.

He said that the situation became possible due to actions of a group of persons, which included the deputy head of Rivne Tractor Unit Plant for economic security, Mykola Kovalenko, judges of the Rivne Regional Economic Court Viktor Marach and Roman Vasylyshyn, Deputy Regional Prosecutor General Valeriy Patrikey, and First Deputy Head of Rivne Regional Administration Anatoliy Yukhymenko, who coordinated the efforts to seize the property.

"Recently some claims from OJSC Rivne Tractor Unit Plant were submitted. Only two judges of the Rivne Regional Economic Court receive the claims. The period of limitation has passed for the deals to be challenged in the court. In addition, representatives of the state - in the interests of the State Property Fund of Ukraine (SPF) or personally the SPF - are taking part in the hearings. They're trying to demand something not in their favor, but in favor of a concrete shareholder - Rivne Tractor Unit Plant, in which the state owns a stake," said a representative of the shareholders, Oleksandr Sysun.

He added that the claims are derivative and are not foreseen in Ukrainian law.

Koshkin said that the first illegal seizure were committed by Rivne Tractor Unit Plant in 2007, and MP Serhiy Kharovsky, the former director of the Ukragromashinvest company, which brought agricultural engineering to a total collapse when he was in charge, was among the illegal seizers.

"They constantly blocked amendments to the state register of companies and individuals using court bans, did not allow the company's true owners to enter the company, and the law-enforcement bodies and Prosecutor General's Office did not react to the appeals of the owners," Koshkin said.

He said that the owners failed to replace the company's head when the previous authorities were in power.

"The shareholders hoped that with the arrival of a new government and the replacement of the leadership of the Interior Ministry, the legal rights of the shareholders to manage their property would be restored, while other illegal seizers replaced the previous ones that had managed the company for four years," he said.

Koshkin said that the owners were informed on the basis of a court ruling that now they own 12% instead of 88% of CJSC Rivne foundry.

"This groundless statement is not in line with the real state of the shareholders' register, but the state registrar amended the register with regard to the replacement of the company's head on the basis of the said distribution of shares, which was reflected in the fabricated minutes of a general meeting of the shareholders," he said.

He said that today the shareholders have had several refusals from the Prosecutor General's Office to open criminal cases against the above-mentioned groups of persons and the previous leadership of the company.

Koshkin said that the company's directors are not sharing the real situation at the company with its true owners, but he said that the company improved its production results in 2010 compared to 2009.

"I don't see prospects for the development of Rivne Foundry, as only the owners of the company can invest in it," he said.

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