Dmitry Litvinovich: Another independent TV channel liquidated

The presidium of the Supreme Arbitration Court confirmed the decision on liquidation of JSC Moscow independent broadcasting corporation (MNVK), that broadcasts on the TV-6 channel. The TV-6 case is considered to be closed. What does the decision base upon: a political or economic reason ?

The Moscow arbitration court decided to liquidate MNVK on the claim of one of the TV company’s shareholders – non-governmental pension fund LUKOIL-Garant. The claim originated from the fact that over the period of 1998-2000 the company’s assets were below the minimal rate fixed in the legislation. The verdict was also confirmed by the authority of appeal; a period of six months was determined for a liquidating procedure at the TV company.

But on December 29, 2001the Federal Arbitration Court of the Moscow district considered an appeal of TV-6 company and cancelled the decision on liquidation. The case was send then to the Moscow Arbitration Court for further examination.

But LUKOIL-Garant disliked the verdict and sent an appeal to a superior authority. Judge of the Supreme Arbitration Court Eduard Renov agreed with LUKOIL-Garant and sent a protest to the Supreme Arbitration Court against the decision of the Moscow Arbitration Court as of December 29, 2001.

Attorneys of the TV company had rather strong arguments: the article “On joint-stock companies” is invalid now, that means there is no legal basis for examination of the case. Second, as of today the Arbitration Court is to consider the statement of the company’s financial condition over 2001, when the company’s business recovered as compared with the year of 2000.

But Mr.Renov demonstrated his professional skills: in the appeal he asked to consider the case as of December 29, 2001, when the article #35 of the law “On joint-stock companies” was still valid (the article was declared invalid starting with January 1, 2002). According to the article, the company can be liquidated because of its unprofitableness, on which basis the decisions of the courts of the two first instances were made. So, Mr.Renov and LUKOIL-Garant won the case. The case is very likely to draw much attention in Russia, as well as beyond its bounds. A reaction that is to come in Russia will be restrained: the right-hand forces will shout for some time and then calm down. But a reaction from the West will be more aggressive to Russia. It is important for President Putin to abstain from any comments on the situation and be outside the conflict. The politically-oriented economic subject is to solve its problems independently.

I would also recommend Boris Berezovsky, the key stockholder of MNVK, to sell his ATG shares while they are worth something.

Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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