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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Millionaire Fair Hit With Crocus Suit

MTA banner across the Crocus City Mall advertising the 2006 Millionaire Fair.

Crocus International has filed a suit with the Moscow Arbitration Court that could force the Millionaire Fair — a former renter of the company’s massive exhibition space in the Crocus City mall — into bankruptcy, just one month before the luxury exhibition is scheduled to open for its 2009 run.

The company filed three lawsuits  against the Russian operator of the worldwide Millionaire Fair luxury exhibition, which has been held at the Crocus City Mall every year since its 2005 Russian debut.

The first claim, filed in May, was for 1.6 million rubles ($52,000), while the second, filed in August, was for 3.4 million rubles, the court said on its web site. The court upheld the first suit, while a decision on the second is pending.

The most recent suit, filed Friday, seeks to have the court declare the Millionaire Fair bankrupt.

A debtor can ask a court to declare a company bankrupt in order to reclaim delinquent payments, said Stepan Gusak, a lawyer with Yukov, Khrenov and Partners.

“As soon as the court upholds the debt claim, the plaintiff can either demand the court forcibly collect the money or declare the defendant bankrupt,” Gusak said.

Once the debt is satisfied, the bankruptcy can be ended, Gusak said.

Since its 2005 debut in Russia, the Millionaire Fair — whose parent company is Dutch media giant Gijrath Media Group — has come to symbolize the exorbitant wealth created by years of skyrocketing oil prices. Jewel encrusted cell phones, thoroughbred racehorses, airplanes and even private islands are all for sale, and the event’s opening night is often packed with celebrities.

Organizers of the event said the latest legal proceedings came as a surprise. The company was aware of the initial claim, but did not know about the other two suits, said Yelena Kudozova, the Millionaire Fair’s managing director.

The delay in paying the debt is the result of a disagreement over how much the company should pay Crocus for services provided, she said.

“During last year’s event we were excessively charged for numerous services. Some we didn’t use, while others were provided on an insufficient level,” Kudozova said. “We officially voiced our concerns to Crocus, saying we would not be paying the excessive costs.”

With the event being held this year at the Manezh Exhibition Hall, Crocus International might have other motives besides reclaiming money, Kuduzova said.

“There is a big emotional component to this story, as Crocus does not want us to leave their mall for a different location,” she said.

“The Millionaire Fair is a status event, and they don’t want to lose such a client,” she said.

The event has been held at the Crocus City Mall every year since opening in Russia.

“The bankruptcy suit comes almost a month before the opening of the exhibition this year,” Kudozova said. “I don’t think that’s a mere coincidence.”