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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

TV6 Loses Court Decision to LUKoil-Garant Fund

If Yevgeny Kiselyov's television team of NTV defectors ever felt safe at its new "home" on Boris Berezovsky's TV6, it ran into new but familiar trouble Thursday when the Moscow Arbitration Court ruled to liquidate TV6's parent company, MNVK.

On the basis of a little-used article of the Civil Code that prohibits companies from showing a negative balance for more than two years, a TV6 minority shareholder, the LUKoil-Garant pension fund, won the suit demanding that MNVK be liquidated, Interfax reported. The same article was used last spring when Moscow tax authorities demanded that Media-MOST and some of its subsidiaries be liquidated.

LUKoil-Garant, a subsidiary of LUKoil, owns 15 percent of TV6. Along with another minority shareholder, Moscow City Hall-connected MKNT Co., it questioned the legality of a March 29 shareholders meeting at which Berezovsky consolidated his control over the channel. They were further infuriated when Berezovsky single-handedly appointed Kiselyov general director in May after he and other staff left NTV after Gazprom's takeover in April. LUKoil-Garant filed four suits against TV6, one of which it won Thursday.

"We are not pursuing any political goals, but simply defending our shareholders' rights, which have been repeatedly violated," LUKoil-Garant general director Mikhail Berezhnoi said in a press release. "MNVK's controlling shareholders have not given us an opportunity to take part in management and even attempted to oust us from the company through illegal emissions."

TV6 said that since the takeover, it had come into the black financially, increased its ratings and doubled advertising revenues. "There is no doubt that this [court] decision has not a legal, but exclusively political character," the company said in a statement.

The court decision bears no impact on the company's broadcasting activities and is likely to be appealed.