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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rival Managers Wrangle for Kachkanar Plant

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Kachkanar, a small town in the middle of the Ural mountains, has again been rocked by a scandal involving two teams of managers that dispute each other’s rights to run the ore-mining business.

A creditors meeting held in the town on Friday decided to recommend Oleg Kozyrev to the local arbitration court as external manager at the ore factory, which was declared bankrupt in March.

Kozyrev’s candidacy was opposed by the former managers of the company who were ousted in January this year and later called in lawyers to take it back from the Urals Ore Mining Co., whose general director, Andrei Kozitsyn, had led the assault.

Kozitsyn made a statement Friday morning blasting a takeover attempt Thursday by the former managers. In the attempt, a group of officials representing former general director Dzhalol Khaidarov tried to restore control over the Kachkanar ore factory with the help of the tax police, but they soon gave up and left the premises.

"There are no legal grounds allowing former managers to return and resume their powers," said Kozitsyn. "I have filed a protest against the activity of the tax police with the prosecutor’s office in the Sverdlovsk region."

A statement circulated by the Urals Ore Mining Co. after the meeting says that creditors holding 98 percent of the company’s debts attended the meeting.

However, its opponents, who represent Khaidarov, claim that the meeting was illegal and forbidden by a court injunction they had obtained in one of the numerous hearings related to the case.

"But the Sverdlovsk region is far from Moscow, so local public officials can lobby interests of particular personalities to these people’s benefit and not for free," says a statement posted on www.kgok.ru, a web site run by Khaidarov’s people. They claim he is supported by 72.2 percent of shareholders.

His colleagues call developments at Kachkanar "a mere arbitrariness," alleging that Eduard Rossel, the governor of the Sverdlovsk region, has teamed up with Kozitsyn.

The tax police, whose local officials accompanied the failed takeover attempt Thursday, denied they had taken Khaidarov’s side.

"Tax policemen do not represent anybody’s interests besides the interests of the law and act strictly in accordance with the law," says the text of a statement issued Thursday by the tax police.

The policemen on Thursday had been investigating violations at the factory that had caught their attention in April, they said.

The Kachkanar factory produces iron and vanadium ore to the tune of $300 million a year.

It would make a nice addition to companies already under the umbrella of the Urals Ore Mining Co., which was set up last year by Kozitsyn and groups Uralelektromed, Gaisky ore combine, Safyanov Copper, Kirovgrad Metallurgical Co., Verkh-Neivinsk Non-Ferrous metals plant and a handful of other smaller Urals-based companies.

Media reports this year linked Kozitsyn with the notorious Chyorny brothers, Lev and Mikhail, who were reported to be close to tycoon Boris Berezovsky.

Berezovsky visited Rossel earlier this month, apparently to discuss the formation of an opposition party, but details about their meeting were not made public. Khaidarov’s people now allege Berezovsky could have played a role in the conflict over Kachkanar factory.

Khaidarov lost his post as board chairman in January when four of seven board members voted to oust him. He later disputed the decision, claiming that a quorum could be called only if five directors participated in the meeting.