Odesa Grain Terminal Owners Subject To $118m Worldwide Freezing Order Following UK Court Ruling
[New York City, 14 January 2023] – The English High Court has granted a worldwide freezing order against Sergiy Groza and Volodymyr Naumenko, the owners of GNT Group and Olimpex Coupe International, a grain terminal in Odesa, Ukraine. This was applied for on behalf of US-based investment firms Innovatus Capital Partners (“Innovatus”) and Argentem Creek Partners (“ACP”), who are creditors to GNT Group.
Despite Innovatus’ and ACP’s continued support for GNT Group, including the offer to postpone loan payments following Russia’s invasion, investigations revealed that the company liquidated all grain pledged to Innovatus without notice or consent.
Grain leaving Odesa’s port has become a critical aspect of negotiations between Ukraine, Russia, and world leaders due to its significance for global food security. The Black Sea Grain Initiative extension, which enabled the partial resumption of Ukrainian grain exports, highlights the importance of ensuring terminals in the region operate efficiently, transparently and with integrity.
Ana Firmato – Managing Director at Innovatus said:
“We find it despicable that the owners of GNT Group would exploit the war to commit fraud. Investigations show that all grain pledged to Innovatus has been fraudulently liquidated by the owners of GNT Group. Innovatus therefore had no choice but to pursue a worldwide freezing order to prevent further dissipation of assets by Naumenko and Groza.”
The strategic importance of grain leaving Odesa’s port for global food security is clear to all supporters of Ukraine. Innovatus remain steadfast in our continued commitment to invest in Ukraine and support its economy.”
John Patton, Portfolio Manager – EMEA & Asia at ACP said:
“ACP and Innovatus have joined forces because of material failings of transparency and governance, and suspected large-scale asset dissipation and corporate wrongdoing. Since enforcement actions have begun; we have identified the transfer of members of the GNT Group which own silos to an entity in Switzerland which we understand is controlled by GNT Group’s Chief Financial Officer Dusan Denic. Once GNT Group relinquishes control of the port to responsible operators, these issues will be resolved with minimal disruption to the grain corridor. We are determined to continue our broader commitment to invest in Ukraine.”
Innovatus and ACP have a long-standing history of investing in Ukraine. Both companies remain committed in ensuring that this grain terminal is managed correctly within Ukrainian and international guidelines.