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Western investors claim $10mn from Anatoly Chubais and Rosnano

The investors of Nitol, a failed project to produce polycrystalline silicon for solar batteries have sued Anatoly Chubais, Rosnano and its subsidiaries and want them to pay $10mn.

Neas Limited (owner of 26% stake in Nitol) and its owner Andrey Tretyakov have complained to a Californian court. They say that in 2004 a group of investors, including Neas, bought a chemical factory with a view to produce polycrystalline silicon. In 2005-2009, they invested almost $300mn in this project. In 2009 Nitol borrowed 4.5bn RUR from Rosnano and 7.5bln RUR from Alfa-Bank for a project to create Russia’s first polycrystalline silicon factory.

This was an occasion for Rosnano managers to get access to Nitol. According to claimants, they did their best to ruin the company. Rosnano first allowed Nitol to default on its debt. It promised not to charge interest for a year or two, but later claimed its money back and seized the shares of INSQU Production Ltd, give as security against the loan. The shares were later transferred to Sherigo Resources offshore company.

The claimants accuse Rosnano and its managers of violating the US law against organized crime and fraud and claim $10mn as compensation.

Rosnano says that all of the deals were legal and that no court has notified them of Neas’s claim.

In 2009-2013, Rosnano tried to build Russia’s first producer of polycrystalline silicon for solar battery. The company first lent 4.5bn RUR to Usolie-Sibirsky Silicon (part of Nitol). Later in 2011, Rosnano and Sberbank Capital were forced to invest additional 16bn RUR by redeeming additional shares of Sherigo Resources but it was a bad time for such a project.

They in Rosnano explained later that in 2008-2012 prices for polycrystalline silicon dropped from $300-400 to $16 per kg. As a result, in late 2013 Rosnano CEO Anatoly Chubais put an end to Nitol because of its unprofitability. In late Jan 2015, the company sold its stake in the project to private investors for 177mn RUR.

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