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Statement by Andrei Borodin, Founder of the Bank of Moscow, on the Situation in Segezha

The Segezha Pulp and Paper Plant, one of the largest plants in Russia, forming part of the InvestLesProm Holding Company, is discontinuing operation as of 1 February. The Plant is the principal major employer in the Karelian town, and its closure means that most of Segezha’s residents are going to be unemployed, at least temporarily. Moreover, if the situation exacerbates, that may result in heating interruptions, including in residential buildings, because heating is also provided by the boiler house of the same Pulp and Paper Plant. This is not only about a social problem but about the people’s survival.

Some of the media and authorities in the region are presenting the situation as a consequence of my improper behaviour as the principal shareholder of the Pulp and Paper Plant. That is a lie.

Firstly, I am not the plant’s owner and do not own its shares. By the way, it is reported in the media that a representative of actual owners, George Philippides of Cyprus, has recently visited Moscow to talk to VneshTorgBank (VTB) and the Bank of Moscow to settle the corporate conflict. Instead of negotiations, however, Mr Philippides was interrogated and subjected to a search by the police and was forced to leave. Who else, if not the Bank of Moscow and VTB, which evidently are not interested in resolving the holding’s problems, could have organised such a persecution?

Secondly, and most importantly, no one has the right to use social and human trouble to profit. Irrespective of the opinion held by the top management of the Bank of Moscow and VTB about their opponents in InvestLesProm, it is as cynical as can be to take the situation to closing the enterprise. The Bank of Moscow has always been the Segezha Pulp and Paper Plant’s partner that provided funding for current needs and invested in modernisation. After my removal from the bank’s management, I have repeatedly called on the new owners to work carefully with partners from the real sector, including InvestLesProm enterprises. Clearly, the current discontinuation of funding by the Bank of Moscow means in fact the holding’s destruction, and destruction of the people who have devoted long years of their life to working honestly for the good of their region and the entire Russian industry. And the destruction, as we see today, is in the literal sense of the word.

I regret being unable to influence the situation. As the manager of the Bank of Moscow for many years, I always understood the need for partner support, and sometimes even social support, of real-sector productions and never feared assuming responsibility for living people. I regret that the bank’s current management is indifferent to these issues.