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    Murmansk port deployed from abroad // The purchase of an enterprise by a non-resident is recognized as a constitutional violation

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    Kommersant” became aware of the details of the high-profile trial in the Arbitration Court of the Murmansk Region, which turned the shares of the Murmansk Sea Fishing Port (MMRP) into state income. The reason for the lawsuit of the FAS, supported by the Prosecutor General’s Office and the FSB, was the transactions, as a result of which the assets of an enterprise of strategic importance “for ensuring the defense and security of the state” were withdrawn abroad without the consent of the government. MMRP intends to appeal the decision.

    After a year of litigation, the decision to convert all shares of JSC MMRP into state revenue was made by the judge of the Arbitration Court of the Murmansk Region Marina GushChina. The formal basis specified in the operative part, which is only two sheets of typewritten text, was the “application of the consequences of the invalidity of void transactions” in 2017-2020, as a result of which the port changed owners.

    Arbitration previously banned any transactions with them.

    The lawsuit itself was filed last summer by the FAS Russia, which indicated that “a group of persons, which includes a foreign investor, established control” over MMRP. The transfer to the ownership of the port was made, in the opinion of the antimonopoly department, “through consistent actions that violate the federal law of April 29, 2008 No. 57 “On the procedure for making foreign investments in business entities that are of strategic importance for ensuring the defense of the country and the security of the state””. It was about transactions made without prior approval from the government commission for the control of foreign investment in Russia. It is worth noting that at one of the first court hearings, the third parties in the process, given the status of the port, were the FSB for the Murmansk region and the regional prosecutor’s office. Later, representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office also took part in the hearings.

    Before its privatization following an auction in 2015, MMRP belonged to the Federal Property Management Agency. The joint-stock company is engaged in loading, unloading and storage of fish products, warehousing of goods, coastal services for oil and gas companies and the fishing fleet, which are strategic activities.

    The new owner of the port for more than 1 billion rubles. became Kupets LLC, which received money for the acquisition from businessman Alexander Romanov and the Cypriot company CI Falcon Limited.

    He and his family members – son Daniil Poleshchuk, daughter Anastasia Kreslavskaya and son-in-law Oleg Kreslavsky – are still directly related to these structures. At the same time, Kommersant‘s sources in the Prosecutor General’s Office note that after buying the asset, Alexander Romanov himself went abroad, becoming, according to some sources, a tax resident of Hungary. The manager of the port is now his son-in-law, and his son is the executive director.

    According to the plaintiffs, the organizations controlled by Mr. Romanov did not have their own funds and were allegedly scheme” for the acquisition of a strategic company by “foreign legal entities”. The authors of the lawsuit and the prosecutor’s office that supported them relied not only on FZ-57, but also on the decision of the Constitutional Court, issued in June of this year, according to which those who have made such transactions are in conflict with the public interests of society, act against the preservation of economic sovereignty and even interfere with the provision of defense country and state security.

    He refrained from further comments, referring to the fact that the leadership had not yet received the operative part of the decision.

    “It is clear that this is such a form of punishment, but we did not see the arguments, how we will study them, we will immediately give a detailed commentary on our position, ”Mr. Barinov explained. According to him, the enterprise hoped for a favorable outcome of the case, since, as the port authorities believed, the lawyers managed to convincingly prove the absence of foreign participation.

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