BIEL Law Firm Is Representing Modulbank in a Golden Parachute Payment Dispute with Former Top Managers.

5 June 2020

The Ostankinsky District Court dismissed legal claims of Andrey Petrov, one of the founders of Modulbank, against the bank. This was told to Vedomosti by Modulbank’s representative and confirmed by Petrov’s lawyer Roman Frantsev. Petrov filed a claim against Modulbank because the labor contracts had been breached. The same was done by two more founders of Modulbank, Oleg Laguta and Yakov Novikov, and the court will consider their claims on July 8 and June 19, accordingly.

The bank must, in the opinion of its founders, pay a total of more than RUR 400 million to them under the labor contract; and the bank is reluctant to pay naming it an «astronomical golden parachute.»

Petrov intends to appeal against the court ruling, and the statement of reasons of the ruling is unknown yet, according to Frantsev. Granting the claims of the claimants in respect of the calculations of the payment owed to them contradicts the substance and the form of the arrangements between the parties and would be of an unreasonable nature, told Vedomosti Philipp Ryabchenko, Modulbank’s lawyer and BIEL Law Firm’s Managing Partner: the total amount of the claims of the former top managers for paying «the so-called golden parachutes» exceeds the total amount of the bank’s profit for the past year.

Modulbank entered into a labor contract with Petrov in 2014; this is when Laguta, Petrov and Novikov established a digital bank for small business. At first, it operated as a division of Regional Credit owned by Artem Avetisyan and was renamed into Modulbank in 2016 when Laguta, Petrov and Novikov received 7.5% each. Modulbank’s founders said that the three of them had contributed RUR 600 million to the bank.

Leaving the bank, the founders agreed that payments to them would be made step-by-step, according to Novikov: they had been contributing to the bank’s development for five years. Since Petrov, Laguta and Novikov returned the shares to Avetisyan free of charge, they entered into labor contract termination agreements with the bank itself according to which Modulbank must pay the money for the development of the business for five years to all three of them. The total amount of the payments, according to preliminary estimates of the founders, must be about RUR 435 million for the three of them. But they only received RUR 15 million each as the bank stopped to make further payments to the founders.

The three founders are litigating not only with the bank but with Avetisyan himself — they are claiming a total of more than RUR 650 million from him and believe that Avetisyan enriched himself unduly when the founders had quitted the equity transferring their shares to Avetisyan free of charge in last December. The value of Modulbank’s shares has doubled over three years, according to its founders.