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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Firm to Sue Rinaco Plus For $3.5 Million in Rent

Moscow real estate developer Mosenka has said it will be filing suit in arbitration court in Stockholm to recover $3.5 million in rent from Rinaco Plus, until recently one of the most successful Moscow brokerage houses.

Mosenka, a joint venture between the Moscow city government and Enka, a Turkish construction firm, claims Rinaco has defaulted on the $500,000 it owed as rent for the fourth quarter of this year.

Furthermore, Mosenka has received a letter from the brokerage saying that due to the recent financial turmoil, Rinaco had suffered significant losses, was unable to pay its rent and planned to move out of the building by Jan. 1, 1999.

In the letter to Mosenka general director Vakur ?ker, Rinaco President Alexander Pertsovsky claimed to have been unable to find a sublessor for the property due to the high rent.

The situation is complicated by the fact that Rinaco is only a shell of the company it once was, its top managers and many of its analysts having jumped ship to Nikoil to form a brokerage division at the oil holding company.

Sergei Vetchinin, press secretary for Nikoil, said the firm has contracts with 17 former Rinaco employees and hopes to sign on 50 out of a total of around 75.

Viktor Agroskin, former managing director of Rinaco and current deputy director of the Nikoil brokerage division, said Rinaco's fate was still up in the air.

"Talks are being held among the shareholders about what to do with the company, whether or not to liquidate it," he said. Rinaco's clients - a brokerage's primary assets - were brought along to Nikoil, he added.

Agroskin denied knowledge of the letter and said only that the company "was in discussions" with Mosenka about the rent.

Yusuf Sarimsakci, the deputy general director of Mosenka, said Wednesday that his firm would file suit in a Stockholm arbitration court within the next two weeks. In the suit, the firm will claim loss not just of the $500,000 owed for the fourth quarter, but also of the $3 million Rinaco would have paid if it had stayed through to the end of the lease.

"Whatever legal force we have, we will use," he said, adding that this would possibly include launching bankruptcy proceedings.

Legal experts said forcing bankruptcy was likely Mosenka's best hope for recovery, assuming a court rules it has a legitimate claim. But then there is the issue of whether there will be any assets to divide up among creditors.

After the people and the client list are gone, said one lawyer, "with a brokerage it's mostly just desks and computer screens."