Russian Court Accepts Lawsuit Seeking Seizure of Rolf Car Dealership Shares

Summary

  • The Moskovskiy District Court in St Petersburg has agreed to a lawsuit by prosecutors looking to seize all shares in Rolf, Russia’s largest car dealership, due to alleged violations of anti-corruption laws.
  • Sergei Petrov, who owns Rolf, has long been in dispute with the Russian authorities over charges of illegal money transfers abroad. He denies the accusations.
  • Petrov is currently residing in Austria, following a warrant for his arrest.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin placed Rolf under temporary state management in December 2023, claiming “economic expediency and compliance with law”.
  • Petrov is concerned that the manoeuvre might be part of a larger plan to absorb assets by a particular trader, damaging Russia’s investment environment.
  • The court heard that prosecutors plan to surrender all shares to the state if a full seizure takes place.

Moskovskiy District Court Takes Action

The Moskovskiy District Court of St Petersburg announced it has taken on a case filed by prosecutors, seeking the confiscation of all shares in Rolf, the top car dealership in Russia, and linked companies, citing “property gained in breach of anti-corruption laws”.

Petrov Accused of Money Laundering

Russian tycoon Sergei Petrov, Rolf’s proprietor, has been a longstanding target of Russian authorities’ accusations of illicitly transferring wealth overseas, charges he contests, and is under an arrest warrant. Currently, he resides in Austria and didn’t respond promptly to a request for comment.

Putin’s Intervention

Back in December 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin imposed an interim state control on Rolf, an action that, according to Kremlin, was prompted purely by “fiscal advisability and adherence to existing laws”.

State Management Controversy

During the same period, Petrov criticized the takeover as another setback for Russia’s investment atmosphere, hinting that the state’s control might have been ordered to serve “the interests of a corporation presently procuring (assets)”.

Prosecutors’ Plea

The court confirmed that should there be a full confiscation, the prosecutors made a plea to turn over all the shares to the state.

The outcome of this case could potentially impact the forex market and trading landscape, specifically concerning Russian assets, as events like these often signify shifting investor confidence.

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