Ministry of Justice begins confiscation of VS Energy's assets
Aleksandr Babakov (Photo: State Duma)

The Ministry of Justice has filed a lawsuit to impose a sanction in the form of confiscation of the assets of Russian oligarchs Aleksandr Babakov, Yevgeny Giner, and Mikhail Voevodin, announced the director of the Department of Sanctions Policy of the Ministry of Justice, Inna Bohatykh, who called it "the key sanctions battle".

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"Today, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine filed a lawsuit with the High Anti-Corruption Court for the application of a sanction in the form of confiscation of assets against Babakov, Giner, Voevodin and other persons who are connected with the mentioned trio and essentially play the role of nominal owners. We expect their (no, these won't come – representatives) in court with statements about honest and transparent foreign investors who spared no time and effort to build the economy of Ukraine, and today support the Armed Forces," she wrote.

In case of confiscation, the state will take corporate rights from the Russians in eight regional energy companies, six hotels, two metallurgical plants, one of the shopping malls in Kyiv and another 31 companies, as well as about $2.5 million.

The Ministry of Justice is going to prove in court that Aleksandr Babakov (Deputy Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation) is one of the beneficiaries of the Dutch company VS Energy International NV with assets in Ukraine, and Voevodin and Giner are his business partners.

The ministry's lawsuit with appendices has more than 11,000 pages and, according to Bohatykh, is based on evidence obtained in the framework of criminal proceedings, information from intelligence agencies, anti-corruption agencies, other government agencies, public organizations and public information.

VS Energy insists that its owners are EU citizens Vilis Dambins, Valts Vigants, Arturs Altbergs (all from Latvia), as well as Oleh Sizerman and Marina Yaroslavska (both from Germany). Giner ceased to be a shareholder of the group in 2014, and Aleksandr Babakov and Mikhail Voevodin never owned VS Energy group shares.