WWRT Limited (“WWRT”) is pursuing a claim for USD 80 million against prominent Ukrainian businessman, Borys Kaufman.
The claim arises out of an alleged fraud valued in excess of £50 million by Kaufman and Carosan, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, on PJSC Platinum Bank – a Ukrainian bank which was declared insolvent by the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) in January 2017 and is currently managed by the Deposit Guarantee Fund.
PJSC Platinum Bank was initially established in 2005. According to the NBU, as of 1 October 2016, the bank ranked 22nd in terms of its assets among 100 operating banks. From 10 January 2017, the bank was controlled by Ukrainian businessman Borys Kaufman, and his business partner, now jailed for fraud in Israel, businessman Gregory Gurtovoy.
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in BVI will be hearing an application on 7 December by both Mr Kaufman and Carosan that it has no jurisdiction to hear the claim and seeking to set aside a Worldwide Freezing Order in the sum of £55 million obtained by WWRT in June 2021.
WWRT purchased some non-performing loans of Platinum Bank, and is pursuing its claims arising out of them.
The claim relates to an alleged fraud by Kaufman, recently registered in Forbes Ukraine as having wealth of USD 250 million or more, and, along with other business interests, is most well-known for owning the largest tobacco manufacturer in Ukraine, Tedis. Mr Kaufman was also reported to be an owner of hotel business in Ukraine and a business magazine Focus. Mr Kaufman was a member of Odessa city council in Ukraine.
WWRT believes Kaufman acted through various corporate vehicles he controlled either directly or indirectly to apply for loans through Platinum Bank. It has since been uncovered that these loans were channelled to offshore companies and entities believed to be controlled by Kaufman. WWRT alleges that Mr Kaufman used nominees and sham agreements to appropriate the loan funds. Mr Kaufman denies wrongdoing.
Olga Gutovska, indirect majority owner of WWRT and managing partner of Gutovska & Partners, said: “WWRT has investigated these claims and believes Mr Kaufman is the mastermind behind this scheme and used Carosan to channel the loan monies out to other entities he controls with no intention to repay the loans to the Bank. WWRT is determined to recover all of its losses from Mr Kaufman and Carosan.”
City of London Law firm Rosling King LLP is acting on the mirror claim in the English Court to secure Mr Kaufman’s assets, with international law firm Conyers assisting in BVI. Gutovska & Partners are advising on Ukrainian law matters and strategy.
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