2 March 2006
Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners Law Offices secures Belizean Supreme Court freezing order on three Russian trawlers

At the request of Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev and Partners, acting on behalf of the Russian Federal Ministry of Property Management, the Supreme Court of Belize has handed down an order prohibiting any transactions, within its jurisdiction, that involve three misappropriated trawlers that belong to the Archangelsk Trawler Fleet. The move comes as speculation continues about the future destination of the trawlers which were arrested in Spain in January 2006, at a request of the Russian authorities.

In 2004, three Russian vessels –“Captain Kononov”, “Yuosas Alexonis” and “Trawlmeister Mogutov”, which belong to the Archangelsk Trawler Fleet (100% owned by the Russian State and represented by the Russian Federal Ministry of Property Management), were detained in Mauritania. They were then sold by the Mauritanian authorities to Mr. Abass Boughourbal, who is suspected of being connected to some high-ranking Russian officials .

In moves to secure the return of its property, Russia has initiated legal actions in a number of countries. The Russian authorities maintain that the trawlers should merely have been arrested and detained in a Mauritanian port. However, ignoring all norms and conventions, it appears that Mr. Boughourbal and persons affiliated with him are actively seeking to exploit the vessels. It has been reported that Abass Boughourbal is seeking to resell the trawlers to businessmen from a number of countries, including Russia, China and Belize.

To stop any illegal exploitation of the trawlers and to prevent their possible resale, lawyers from EPA&P, representing the Russian Federation and the Archangelsk Trawler Fleet, submitted Official Notifications to officials of all the countries that could potentially become involved.

Russian lawyers were informed today that the Supreme Court of Belize has prohibited any transactions involving “Captain Kononov”, “Yuosas Alexonis” and “Trawlmeister Mogutov” on the territory of Belize.