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British court blocks Metabay accounts, which may be involved in BCPP fraud

According to the claimant, the controller and beneficial owner of Metabay is BCPP Business Development Director Iryna Rzhepetska.

British court blocks Metabay accounts, which may be involved in BCPP fraud
Royal Courts of Justice
Photo: EPA/UPG

By claim of the Darnitsa Pharmaceutical Company the High Court of Justice in London blocked on March 19 the accounts of the British company Metabay Import/Export Limited, which acts as an intermediary in the procedure for the purchase of pharmaceutical raw materials for the PJSC SPC Borshchahivskiy Chemical Pharmaceutical Plant (BCPP) from the German company Farmaplant Fabrikation Chemischer Produkte GmbH. RBC-Ukraine informs this with reference to the Darnitsa’s lawyer, counsel at the law firm Aequo, Yevhen Levitskyi.

According to the lawyer, the point of argument is in the fact that at least since 2014, BCPP had been purchasing pharmaceutical raw materials from the German company Farmaplant at a price that, by estimate of Darnitsa, is significantly higher than the market price. Darnitsa estimates the amount of damage at 4.7 million US Dollars.

The claimant believes that Farmaplant transferred the amount of the overpaid funds to the account of Metabay under the guise of a commission for the fact that the latter allegedly contributed to the conclusion of the relevant contracts for the supply of pharmaceutical raw materials.

According to the claimant, the controller and beneficial owner of Metabay is BCPP Business Development Director Irina Rzhepetska, who is also the daughter of the Chairman of the BCPP Supervisory Board Mykola Bezpalko and Liudmyla Bezpalko, who headed the enterprise as CEO until 2018.

Thus, the claims of Darnitsa are justified by the fact that the management of BCPP has not only been artificially inflating the costs of the enterprise for many years, thereby damaging the enterprise itself and its shareholders, but also obviously “has been appropriating the overpaid funds through the indicated scheme.”

Yevhen Levitskyi, a lawyer for Darnitsa and a counsel at the law firm Aequo, said the company applied to the London court to ensure that Metabay's funds were not further withdrawn to offshore accounts.

Darnitsa, as the shareholder with the largest block of shares, filed a lawsuit on behalf of the BCPP in a Ukrainian court against the unscrupulous managers of this enterprise, demanding compensation for the multimillion-dollar damage suffered by the BCPP. Precisely in order for the compensation to become effected, and for the funds withdrawn to the offshore not to disappear somewhere, the English court decided to seize them,'' Levitskyi said.

On March 26, a Swiss court also took a similar decision to seize funds in Metabay’s accounts, agreeing with Darnitsa’s arguments.

On April 16, the London court will continue to consider the seizure of funds.

As a reminder, on October 29, 2020, the Supreme Court confirmed the ownership of PrJSC Darnitsa Pharmaceutical Company to 30% of the shares of the PJSC SPC Borshchahivskiy Chemical Pharmaceutical Plant, that were acquired in 2015. The Supreme Court also upheld the decision of the Kyiv Commercial Court of November 4, 2019, which found that the sale of Darnitsa shares had been carried out in compliance with the law.

Darnitsa Pharmaceutical company was founded in 1930. Since 1998, it has been the leader in Ukraine in terms of production of drugs by volume. The strategic areas of portfolio development are cardiology, neurology and pain management. The beneficiaries of the company are the Zagoriy family.

JSC SPC Borshchahivskiy Chemical Pharmaceutical Plant is in the top 20 largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in Ukraine and is a member of the Manufacturers of Medications of Ukraine Association (AMMU). According to the data in the information disclosure system of the Securities and Exchange Commission, 31.5525% of BCPP shares belong to the PrJSC Darnitsa Pharmaceutical Company; 21.2636% and 20.3169% respectively belong to the companies from the British Virgin Islands Beldor Group S.A. and Lenika Group S.A. Another 8.4630% of the shares are owned by Aletber Limited from Cyprus. There is no information on the ultimate beneficial owners of these companies in the public domain. The rest of the shares are held by minority shareholders.

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