News (#11-12 November-December 2020)


Courts wrote off Halychyna’s 1.2 billion debt to Ukreximbank

The debt of one of the structures of dairy producer Halychyna to the tune of UAH 1.24 billion owed to state-owned Ukreximbank will be written off as a result of a court decision.

In September 2020, the Western Economic Court of Appeal refused to satisfy Ukreximbank’s appeal and upheld the decision made by the Lviv Regional Economic Court of May 2020, which approved the liquidation balance of the bankrupt Halychyna PJSC and liquidated the company.

The courts found that given the insufficiency of the debtor’s property, the claims of a number of creditors (including that of Ukreximbank — for the amount of UAH 1.24 billion), which were not repaid during the liquidation procedure, were considered to be repaid under Article 64 of the Bankruptcy Code.

According to court materials, as a result of receiving funds from the sale of the debtor’s assets, the liquidator partially repaid the claims of mortgage creditors, including that of Ukreximbank — for the amount of UAH 97.9 million.

In its appeal, Ukreximbank required that the case be returned to a court of first instance to continue the liquidation procedure.

The state-owned bank expressed the opinion that the liquidator of Halychyna PJSC did not conduct a proper inventory of the debtor’s assets and their valuation, did not take measures to identify and collect receivables, and did not take measures to bring the debtor’s shareholders or officials to subsidiary liability.

The appellate court disagreed with Ukreximbank’s assessments, stating, inter alia, that the liquidator did not show signs of the debtor being brought to bankruptcy and of fictitious bankruptcy and, therefore, there was no reason to impose subsidiary liability under the debtor’s obligations to guilty persons.

“The complainant did not submit specific evidence and did not provide any circumstances that would indicate the improper implementation of the liquidation procedure,” the ruling of the Western Economic Court of Appeal added.

Halychyna PJSC was declared bankrupt by the decision of the Economic Court of Lviv Region in August 2018.

Dairy company Halychyna claimed that the liquidation of Halychyna PJSC will not affect production.


Uber won appeal on continuing its operations in London

Uber has won an appeal in a court, having received a ruling that the company may continue its operations in London.

The ruling is important for Uber in one of the key markets and is a big blow for London Mayor Sadiq Khan in his long-running fight against the company. Khan first revoked Uber’s license in 2017 because the company was “unsuitable” to operate in the capital.

In November 2019, Uber appealed the decision of the capital’s Transport for London (TfL), which revoked the company’s operating license as, according to officials, Uber allowed 14,000 “fraudulent trips” with unlicensed drivers, which posed a threat to passengers. Uber claimed it was a failure abused by a “gang of criminals” and not a widespread security problem.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that Uber had introduced significant changes to its systems and improved survey and feedback.

It should be noted that the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is considering another case that could have a huge impact on Uber’s activities.

The Court must decide whether Uber drivers are employees or independent contractors in a case filed by the Application Drivers and Couriers Union. It is unclear when the court will announce its ruling.


European Commission challenges decision of European Court of Justice to cancel fine imposed on Apple

The European Commission has decided to appeal the decision of the European Court of Justice to cancel the EUR 13 billion fine imposed on Apple for the peculiarities of its activities in Ireland.

“The Commission has decided to appeal to the European Court of Justice against the decision taken in July 2020 in the case of state aid to Apple in Ireland, which rules to cancel the Commission’s decision of August 2016 claiming that Ireland has provided illegal tax aid to Apple through tax benefits”, the official statement reads.

In its decision, the Court drew attention to important legal aspects, though at the same time, the Commission believes that several errors as to the application of the law were made in the decision. 

Earlier, the European Court of Justice canceled the European Commission’s decision on a fine of EUR 13 billion imposed on Apple in 2016 because the company gained a special economic advantage in Ireland, as it was able to pay much lower taxes than others.

Apple then appealed against the fine in the European Court of Justice, claiming that the amount “does not correspond to reality and common sense.” Ireland, whose economy has benefited from investments by transnational companies attracted by its low tax rates, has also appealed against the European Commission’s decision.

The Apple case was part of a broader campaign to ensure that some countries, including Ireland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, did not offer particularly attractive terms to global giants like Amazon, Fiat, Engie, and Starbucks.

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