In doing so, it will temporarily stay the legal proceedings in the English High Court.
The move is the latest stage of a long-running dispute over the ownership of Vivacom and follows a recent announcement in November 2019 when it was reported that Viva Telecom (Luxembourg) had agreed to sell Vivacom to United Group, a subsidiary of BC Partners, with the deal closing in Q2 this year.
According to Dmitry Kosarev, Empreno’s owner, “We agreed to a temporary stay of the legal proceedings in London reserving the right to re-activate them at a later stage pending the resolution of the claim in Luxembourg.
“It makes perfect sense for us to focus on the Luxembourg proceedings which concern the title to Vivacom group. In the Luxembourg court we shall exploit the documents gathered just recently in the U.S. proceedings pursuant to section 1782 subpoenas issued in the U.S. Court: additional evidence of the fraudulent activity in connection with the artificial “auction”. In November 2019 the Luxembourg proceedings were extended to join both United Group and BC Partners as co-defendants. Under no circumstances could they now be deemed as bona fide purchasers of Vivacom, even if the sale is implemented by virtue of a new “auction”. Upon maturity of the loan granted by VTB to Viva Telecom (Luxembourg) SA (to become due on 30 April 2020), VTB may try to sell the pledged Vivacom group again, but in this event on behalf of “its own” pledgor – Viva Telecom (Luxembourg) SA or its subsidiaries (for example, InterV Investment Sarl). Any further resale of Vivacom regardless of its structure, either by direct resale by its current unlawful owner or through new foreclosure process and enforcement of the pledge by VTB group at a new auction, will still be a part of the same fraudulent scheme, which is being challenged in the Luxembourg proceedings. That said, neither United Group nor any third party will be able to acquire clear valid title to Vivacom”.