The UK High Court of Justice, with its 4th May 2020 dated decision, has ruled on confiscation and freezing of the entrepreneur's bank accounts and assets worldwide. This decision marked a decisive end in Mansimov's case with Sberbank after it ruled on confiscation and freezing of the bank accounts and assets of the businessman and Palmali holding all over the world.
A key aspect of this decision is that the confiscation ruling of Britain's Supreme Court applies not only to Palmali Holding Company Limited but also to the entire property and assets, having either direct or indirect links to Mubariz Mansimov. A significant effect is that the decision will be massive both in terms of content and geographically.
President of Palmali Shipping Group, bankrupt businessman and former billionaire Mubariz Mansimov is unable to pay his debts. Among others, he owes $900,000,000 to oil suppliers, shipyards, and banks from which he borrowed loans.
Though Palmali was once a significant supplier of oil products, the entrepreneur who owned huge assets, luxurious estate, and yachts was unable to pay the salary to his employees for the reason of accumulated debts. It is yet another proof of the overall downturn of the group of companies — Palmali's state was so hopeless that all Mansimov's savings were dwindling.
It is yet unclear how he is going to settle the accumulated debt estimated at $900,000,000, since the former businessman has no money to do so. Assets worth $100,000,000 is the only thing that was found as belonging to him. His banking accounts were frozen. Turkey's tax ministry and Malta's state finance board are also investigating his activity.
Meanwhile, the Hamburg Commercial Bank (HC BANK), known for crediting the global marine oil transporters, asked the court to arrest and seize Palmali's six cargo ships.
According to them, since 2018, the company has failed to pay the remaining part of the $27,000,000 debt on loans, which the bank issued to daughter structures — Palmali Dry Holding and Palmali Holding.
The following bulk carriers are subject to confiscation:
- NAKHCHIVAN (produced in 2007)
- MIRZAAGA KHALILOV (2006)
- ISMAYIL SHIKHLY (2007)
- SHIRVAN (2007)
- RIAD AHMEDOV (2007)
- AKHMED MAHMUDOV (2007)
The Hamburg Court sent the corresponding letter to Palmali, notifying the group of the credit indebtedness, stressing particularly that the company has unpaid debts since Q1, 2018. Moreover, the financial establishment accused the holding of noncompliance with the earlier adopted contracts while signing loan agreements.
In this respect, the bank had to annul the decision on the funds allocated earlier the purchase of six ships and demanded their soonest disbursement, since the boats were pledged to the financial institution. HC BANK noted that the last eight loans provided to the company in July 2018, as well as in March, April, May, August, December of 2019, and December and January 2020, are yet to be paid.
According to the information, the creditors of Rostov-based Palmali Shipping again put the company's oil and barge fleet up for sale. Forty-six vessels of daughter Palmali were set for an auction.
In November 2018, the Rostov Arbitration Court of Russia confirmed the bankruptcy of Palmali Rostov, a subsidiary of the Istanbul-based Palmali, over the $220,000,000 debt to Sberbank. Meanwhile, the overall liabilities topped $300,000,000. Russia accounted for around 40 business structures and 46 oil tankers belonging to Palmali Rostov. In September 2019, the Rostov court put up 43 boats for sale in the bankruptcy case.
The property of the Palmali Caspian Shipping Projects was put up for sale in Russia in mid-May. The reported value of all lots reaches RUB 1,700,000,000. Palmali Caspian Shipping Projects is the daughter affiliate of Palmali. It ended 2018 at huge losses equivalent to RUB 443,000,000. Meanwhile, the lead company lost over RUB 2,400,000,000 in the same period.
Earlier, the Rostov Court of Arbitration extended Palmali's bankruptcy administration to five months, motivating the decision by undertaking measures to reveal the property of the debtor and forming the insolvency estate.
In mid-2018, Sberbank demanded to include Palmali shipping company into the creditors' list for owing over RUB 13,000,000,000 to the bank. The debt was accumulated due to the failure to pay on three loans equivalent to $57,000,000, $104,000,000 and $60,000,000. Palmali borrowed the mentioned sums from 2013 to 2014 to repay the funds allocated to the company by Alfa Bank for the purchase of vessels. Moreover, in 2014, Sberbank launched a credit line for Palmali with a $34,000,000 limit, on which a huge indebtedness was also recorded.
Sberbank concluded six contracts on mortgage lending with the complex, accepting 46 Palmali ships as a pledge.
The founder of Palmali, Azerbaijani native Mubariz Mansimov, was detained on March 15 and arrested two days later as part of a probe into links with the organization of disgraced clergyman Fethullah Gulen, whose activities in Turkey are qualified as terrorist crimes. The businessman also attempted to evade the investigation, since, as he reported in social networks, Turkey launched 12 criminal cases against him.
Mansimov's company, headquartered in Malta, has only left 21 small scale vessels engaged in the transportation of oil and oil products from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Russia to Western markets. However, Mansimov's commercial activities were repeatedly the subject of inspections by Russian supervisory authorities, NEWS.ru reported. For this reason, outraged Mansimov made frequent political statements, insulting Russians and Russian politics.
It is noteworthy that some crews of the ships belonging to Mansimov went on hunger strike several times due to the company's failure to pay salaries. In 2018, a lawsuit was filed with the Rostov Region Arbitration Court to recover RUB 94.1M from Palmali in favor of the former partner Yugbunkerservis-Rostov (fuel company). Besides, after losing several vessels to LUKOIL-Bunker and the emerging debt of RUB 1.7B, the Russian subsidiary of Mansimov's tanker empire was declared bankrupt, and all of its ships were pledged to Sberbank.