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Recovering Hopeless Debt

INTELLECT-S successfully represented a Moscow-based liquor wholesaler in insolvency proceedings against its customers co-owning once the biggest retail liquor chain in Sverdlovsk Region.

The chain, consisting of some 150 outlets and owned by an array of affiliated entities, defaulted on payments to suppliers, including INTELLECT-S's client, early in 2016 and went into liquidation. Debts owed to our client were hopeless; the liquidated corporate owners had no assets to recover from.

However, the client had a personal guarantee that retail liquor chain beneficial owner (a private individual) had given the our client for the obligations of an outlet in her chain earlier. It appeared that a substantial part of the private beneficial owner's assets (realty and vehicles) had been assigned to third parties in anticipation of recovery under the guarantee.

Our comment:

Represented by Roman Rechkin, INTELLECT-S, the client initiated involuntary personal bankruptcy proceedings against the chain's beneficial owner on the last day of May 2016, and, being the first creditor to turn to court, obtained an order appointing a receiver of its choice.

In mid-August 2016, the INTELLECT-S's counsel for the client met retail chain owner to demonstrate their client's serious intentions, readiness to seek the court's orders voiding her asset-diverting assignments, and threatened to prosecute under criminal law for bankruptcy fraud.

Negotiations with retail chain owner continued until the end of the October 2016 when the beneficial owner finally paid INTELLECT-S's client all outstanding debts and contractual penalties.

The engagement is an example of successful and relatively quick recovery of a debt in an apparently dead-end situation involving a hopelessly insolvent debtor; INTELLECT-S's client is so far the only creditor who has recovered the debt, while the retail chain owner's personal bankruptcy proceedings are still in progress.

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