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American fund Argentem Creek Partners suing for Odesa terminal found to have ties to Russia

American fund Argentem Creek Partners suing for Odesa terminal found to have ties to Russia American fund Argentem Creek Partners suing for Odesa terminal found to have ties to Russia (gmk center)
Author: Maria Kholina

The American investment fund Argentem Creek Partners (ACP) has provided a venture loan of $20 million to the Philippine fintech company Salmon, co-founded by Russian businessmen Pavel Fedorov and Georgiy Chesakov. These Russians previously held executive positions in sanctioned entities such as Tinkoff Group, Rosneft, and worked in the Russian government, according to the French media Intelligence Online.

According to ACP's website, this loan marks the largest venture loan in the history of Series A technology companies in the Philippines, propelling Salmon to become one of the fastest-growing fintech companies in Southeast Asia. In January 2024, Salmon acquired the Rural Bank of Santa Rosa and obtained a banking license in the Philippines.

Salmon's co-founder and CEO, Georgiy Chesakov, built his career at Tinkoff Group, whose main asset, Tinkoff Bank, was included in the tenth package of sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia in early 2023. Until spring 2022, he led the international growth division.

Pavel Fedorov served as co-chairman of the board of directors of Tinkoff Group from November 2021 to March 2022. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President of the mining giant Norilsk Nickel and Vice President of Rosneft, a Russian oil company 70% owned by the Russian Federation.

As noted by Intelligence Online, after leaving Rosneft, Fedorov remained at the heart of the company in a more informal role as the right-hand man to its chairman and CEO Igor Sechin, who has been one of Vladimir Putin's most loyal senior officials since their collaboration in the St. Petersburg mayor's office in the 1990s.

After Rosneft, Fedorov also served as Deputy Minister of Energy, overseeing the oil and gas sector.

ACP is currently embroiled in a legal battle over the assets of the Ukrainian holding company GNT Group, primarily focused on the grain terminal of the Odesa seaport.

Previously, the beneficiaries of GNT Group, Sergey Groza and Vladimir Naumenko, stated that at the end of 2022, the fund initiated a hostile takeover of the holding's business as part of the credit dispute.

According to them, all actions of ACP are aimed at deliberately reducing the value of assets in order to acquire the entire business of the group at the lowest price possible, with subsequent resale. This situation also posed a threat to the operation of the "grain corridor" in the winter-autumn of 2023.

On March 13, 2024, the District Court of Nicosia (Cyprus) revoked the order appointing a temporary liquidator to G.N. Terminal Enterprises Limited (Cyprus; the parent company of the GNT Group).

The liquidator was unlawfully appointed on March 10, 2023, at the request of the creditor Argentem Creek Partners (ACP). The judges also annulled all decisions made by the liquidator.