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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ilim Pulp: Police Seizures Illegal

MTIlim Pulp's office on St. Petersburg's Mayakovskaya Ulitsa was searched Tuesday.
Forestry giant Ilim Pulp said Friday that police officers illegally seized computers, a safe and financial documents unrelated to a search of the company's St. Petersburg headquarters for evidence of forgery.

General director Sergei Kostylyev asked the prosecutors of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region and the deputy prosecutors of the Northwest and Siberian federal districts to "check the legality and the grounds for the search and take the necessary measures regarding violations committed by the officials conducting the investigation," a company statement said.

St. Petersburg police searched Ilim Pulp's headquarters on Aug. 5 and Aug. 6 as part of a criminal case launched by police in Bratsk, where one of Ilim Pulp's main forestry plants is located.

Investigators suspect Ilim Pulp of forging a letter that revoked the right of the state's representative at Bratskkomplexholding, Alexander Krivenkov, to vote at a shareholders meeting on April 20 and April 21.

Krivenkov, who has since retired, was expected to veto Ilim Pulp's plan to consolidate the Bratsk plant with other key pulp and forestry holdings, Ilim press secretary Svyatoslav Bychkov said. Ilim Pulp announced the planned move to a single share in March.

The company has been fighting off attempts by aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska's industrial holding Base Element and its partners to take control of the Bratsk plant and the Kotlas pulp plant in the Arkhangelsk region.

Base Element, its partly owned forestry company Kontinental Management and St. Petersburg banker and former Ilim Pulp shareholder Vladimir Kogan have claimed ownership of 83 percent of the Bratsk plant and 61 percent of the Kotlas plant, which were seized and auctioned off almost overnight following lawsuits brought by owners of several shares in the two plants in Kemerovo. Ilim Pulp has contested the lawsuits.

Bychkov has accused Base Element of masterminding the lawsuits and carrying out a campaign to force out Ilim Pulp.

Base Element could not be contacted for comment Friday.

Bychkov called last week's search a "provocation" and groundless. According to Bychkov, the investigators had located over a week ago the original document revoking the power of attorney, which had been faxed by the property ministry to Ilim's registrar, the Central Moscow Depository.

"This is simply an excuse to put pressure on our head office," Bychkov said. "We don't exclude the fact that pressure may be exerted on the register holder itself."

"They will look at the [confiscated] documents and interpret them in such a way that they can return to the Central Moscow Depository and seize the share register. Our assets are the final goal."

Bychkov said media reports citing a police source as saying that evidence of illegal activities on the part of the company's management had been discovered among the documents were false. He said the confiscated items should still be under police seal and had yet to be inspected.