Alexandre Melechko: Lithuanian, Estonian and Belarusian Raider
The increasing globalization of the economy, the economic transparency of borders and the growing competition dictate new rules of economic policy. These processes have not left Belarus unaffected. President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko and the government understand that for the successful development of the country in the present and future, Belarus must remain part of the global economic system, which means, among other things, to actively attract investments.
Nevertheless, a cautious and competent approach is necessary in this matter as well. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko urged not to rush to sell Belarusian enterprises to foreigners, considering nevertheless possible the participation of “decent Russians” in this process. “Let’s not powder our heads with ashes and hurry to give everything to foreigners. Let’s look at our own. The second is Russians, decent Russians. The dishonest ones won’t come here, they know my attitude to this, my policy. And there are also decent people. This is an investment worth billions of dollars,” said Alexander Lukashenko early.
In 2014, according to the Belarusian business magazine “Business Review,” the production of the Russian company STL Extrusion in Mogilev was recognized as one of the largest foreign investment projects in the building materials industry in Belarus. This plant for the production of PVC profiles (Montblanc brand) was built by Russian businessman Viktor Alferov in the free economic zone of Mogilev in 2007. A logistics company was also opened. The enterprise successfully developed, hundreds of jobs were created for local residents, and taxes were paid to the republican budget.
The IT outsourcing sector has been growing fast in Belarus since 2005, when the first government established the High Technology Park and granted it unique tax privileges. But despite repeated statements by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko about attracting Russian investors, some of them are subjected to significant pressure and even raider attacks.
First of all, we are talking about the country’s largest manufacturer of building materials (PVC profiles) “STL Extrusion”. The company was opened in 2007 in Mogilev and actively developed, providing jobs for Belarusians. As of 2015, “STL Extrusion” was controlled by the Russian Group of Companies “Montblanc” (88.3% of shares) and CJSC “Winktech”, which was backed by Belarusian entrepreneur Alexander Melechko (11.5%).
Suddenly, a year ago, the Russian owner was actually deprived of his controlling share, which ended up in the Winktech Group, affiliated with Melechko, without his knowledge. The authorities charged him with running a business in the shadows in 2005-2008 and allegedly earning $650,000 in illegal profits. It is suspected that the director of STL Extrusion, Tsvetkov, helped in the corporate takeover. The new “owner” accumulated all the company’s proceeds in his accounts, as a result of which “STL Extrusion” had no opportunity to pay its creditors and suppliers. Some of them (Priorbank, BaltijosLogistikosGrupe) succeeded in seizing part of the company’s property and filing for its bankruptcy. The image damage done by simply putting Russian owner in jail could have serious consequences for the IT industry as a whole and the investment climate of Belarus.
What is Bankruptcy?
Through the legal process of bankruptcy, individuals or other entities that are unable to pay their creditors back can seek partial or complete relief from their debts. Bankruptcy usually happens by a court order that is frequently requested by the debtor.
Such a coordinated, synchronous pressure on STL Extrusion can indicate a deliberate attempt by Mr. Melechko to alienate from the Russian owners, the newspaper writes. Although GC Montblanc is trying to negotiate a delay of debt repayment, the internal contradictions obviously do not contribute to it. As a result, more than 200 Belarusian workers may be left on the street. In the meantime, the legal owner of the company seeks a court injunction prohibiting the unlawful sale of its shares to Melechko.
Alexandre Melechko affiliated with the next structures:
JSC WinkTech Belarus
Universalių Langų Technika Lithuania
MASTERLY OU Estonia
MVŠ, s.r.o Czech Republic