They withdrew funds to buy shares in Bosnalijek

The Sarajevo-based pharmaceutical company Bosnalijek has lost millions, thanks to the decisions made by its managers, who without the consent of the company’s shareholders and Supervisory Board signed several suspicious deals and withdrew company funds to buy shares in Bosnalijek.

According to the documents in our possession, debt assignment deals were employed to siphon off funds from Bosnalijek. Instead of collecting receivables from contractors, the managers of Bosnalijek headed by Nedim Uzunovic assigned debts to intermediaries. In return for their services the intermediaries received substantial fees.

There are reasons to believe that the real goal of these transactions was the siphoning off and laundering of Bosnalijek’s funds. Once “clean,” these funds were used for purchasing the company’s shares by third-party “investors.”

In particular, on October 12, 2015, Bosnalijek signed a factoring agreement with the Slovenian company Maksimus Holding, de facto assigning it the receivables worth nearly 10 million euro from the Russian company Grama. According to the agreement, Maksimus pledged to assist Bosnalijek in collecting the debt in exchange for a compensation of 2.2 million euro. Not only the exorbitant compensation (nearly one fourth of the debt’s value) looks suspicious, but also the fact that Maksimus had no assets and could not provide a valid bank guarantee to cover its liabilities.

On December 4, 2015, after Grama had paid off its debt entirely, Maksimus issued an invoice, and two weeks later received 2.2 million euro from Bosnalijek.

The second phase of activities carried out by Bosnalijek’s managers aimed to hide the trail of money illegally siphoned off from the company. They tried to make sure that the money cannot be connected to the funds used later for the acquisition of Bosnalijek’s shares.

According to the available documents, this was done in the following manner. Maksimus signed a number of deals with firms that belonged to individuals interested in the subsequent buying of Bosnalijek’s shares. For the most part, these deals covered financial advising, consulting, and other similar bogus services. The contracts were signed for relatively small sums, therefore 2.2 million euro were scattered across numerous contracts and accounts, thus making them hard to track.

For example, 300,000 euro out of the aforementioned 2.2 million euro were paid to the German company 4ever Youth UG, which, according to the contract, was supposed to provide Maksimus with expert and legal assistance in collecting the debt from Grama.

It is clear from the available documents that 4ever Youth UG is connected to Slobodan Puric, a close acquaintance of Nedim Uzunovic (both were directors at Pro-Life Solution).

Furthermore, 150,000 Swiss francs out of 2.2 million euro were paid to Salomon J. Augapfel, a Swiss lawyer, for consulting services in the field of international investments. Augapfel initiated a fiduciary agreement on the investment of one million euro into Inwestfinanzierung AG. Formally, a fiduciary agreement is an investment contract, but in this particular case there are reasons to believe that the agreement serves to hide the real purpose behind the transfer of funds. Felicertes Commerse, a company that belongs to Salomon J. Augapfel, was registered on the same day when Maksimus transferred one million euro to Inwestfinanzierung AG. Subsequently, Felicertes Commerse became a shareholder of Bosnalijek, after it had acquired a chunk of follow-on shares. The decision to issue additionally one million shares was made by Nedim Uzunovic and Edin Dizdar (member of the Supervisory Board). Currently, this decision is being disputed by Haden S.A., Bosnalijek’s largest shareholder, at the cantonal court of Sarajevo.

After Maksimus had done its job it was replaced by the Czech company Close Ville. In March this year, the Moscow office Bosnalijek notified its largest distributors Protek and Puls that payments under existing contracts were to be transferred to the Czech intermediary. After that, Protek and Puls started making payments through Close Ville.

Our attempts to receive comments from Bosnalijek were unsuccessful. To date, the company hasn’t responded to any of our email and phone inquiries.

Source: Nezavisne novine, 24.08.2017