On October 11, it became known that the Shevchenkiv District Court of Kyiv decided to seize the assets of another mobile operator – lifecell. Economic Truth writes about it .
The court ruling, adopted on October 4, became part of a large-scale operation to seize assets owned by Russian oligarchs Mykhailo Fridman, Petro Aven and Andriy Kosogov and structures related to them. According to the data from the court decision, the arrest covered not only the assets of Kyivstar , but also another mobile operator – lifecell.
The total value of seized assets amounted to more than 17 billion hryvnias.
The largest seized asset was 100% of the authorized capital of “Lifecell” LLC, which is valued at almost 13 billion hryvnias. At the same time, it is noted that “Lifecell” LLC belongs to the foreign legal entity Lifecell Ventures Cooperatief.
The materials of the case, which was considered at the request of the prosecutor of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, indicate the connection of Mykhailo Fridman, Petro Aven and Andriy Kosogov with the company LetterOne, through which they own the shares of the Turkish company Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS. This Turkish company, in turn, is the owner Ukrainian telecommunications operator lifecell.
LetterOne controls 19.8% of Turkish mobile operator Turkcell through its subsidiary IMTIS Holdings SARL, according to stock market filings. It should be noted that 54% of Turkcell’s shares are available for trading on the open market.
Seizure of other assets
In addition to lifecell’s assets, the court also seized 100% of the shares in Paycell LLC. This is a payment system that belongs to the mobile operator and is used to top up lifecell subscriber accounts. In addition, the corporate rights of Ukrtower LLC, which is a subsidiary of the Turkish holding company Turkcell, which specializes in towers and indoor coverage systems in business centers, shopping malls and hotels, were arrested.
The position of the SBU
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) expressed the opinion that the seizure of these assets will prevent the Russian owners from “rewriting” them to fictitious persons in order to avoid transferring the assets to the income of Ukraine.
Comment from the operator
In a comment to dev.ua, lifecell stated that the situation with the seizure of the corporate rights of persons under sanctions does not have a negative impact on the current operational activities of the company. The operator continues its work as usual, providing customers with reliable telecommunications services.
It should be noted that lifecell is fully owned by Turkcell, which is one of the leading companies in the field of telecommunications and technology services in Turkey. About 54% of Turkcell’s shares are traded on the Istanbul and New York stock exchanges. Additionally, the Republic of Turkey Welfare Fund (TWF) owns 26.2% of Turkcell shares, which gives it the right to appoint the majority of the board of directors and elect the chairman of the board. The remaining 19.8% of Turkcell shares are owned by IMTIS Holdings S. à. rl, a company that has no influence, control or privilege over Turkcell or lifecell.
Therefore, Mykhailo Fridman, Petro Aven and Andriy Kosogov do not have control or influence over the activities of Turkcell and, therefore, over the lifecell operator. Both companies strictly adhere to the necessary compliance and internal control measures imposed by regulatory authorities in the USA, UK, EU and Ukraine.
The lifecell operator continues to provide its services and works diligently to ensure the stability and availability of communication for millions of subscribers both on the territory of Ukraine and abroad. Even in conditions of military operations, lifecell actively restores damaged infrastructure and expands coverage throughout Ukraine. Since the beginning of 2022, more than 800 new base stations have been deployed to provide connectivity for the country’s residents.