15 December 2020

Mikhail Fridman cleared by Spanish court of false allegations

Mr. MANUEL GARCÍA CASTELLÓN, Judge of the Central Investigating Court number 6 in Madrid, has today dismissed Mikhail Fridman, as a party under investigation, from the investigation (proceedings number 000059/2017) into the circumstances surrounding the collapse of a Spanish company called Zed+. The investigation was opened following numerous false allegations made by Spanish business-man and admitted fraudster, Javier Pérez Dolset, to the Spanish police and Public Prosecutor's Office that falsely claimed that Mr Fridman had taken actions that led to the insolvency of Zed+.

In his court order, the esteemed Judge MANUEL GARCÍA CASTELLÓN, after carefully considering the evidence in the record and the applicable legal standards, made clear that there was no support for the allegations that had been wrongfully lodged against Mr. Fridman. "In the present case, the investigating measures conducted do not allow us to reach in any way the conclusions stated in the police report of 18 July 2019 and in the successive reports by the Public Prosecutor".

Judge MANUEL GARCÍA CASTELLÓN went on to emphasize that Mr. Fridman simply was not involved in the insolvency of Zed+.

  • In fact, the investigating measures carried out to date, considering the investigating phase of the proceeding concluded regarding the person under investigation, do not allow us to attribute the status of de iure director to the person under investigation in any way, and this is evidenced by the simple examination of the corporate structures investigated. Similarly, in light of the investigating measures carried out by this Court, and the examination of the documentation provided within this Preliminary Investigation no 59/17, there is no documentary evidence or testimony that support the initial consideration of a possible involvement in the events under investigation of Mikhail Fridman”.
  • In relation to the deposition of Edwin Harland, responsible partner of PWC who carried out an audit at ZED's request between April 2013 and November 2014, the Judge noted Harland found "no evidence that related Mikhail Fridman to the companies under investigation, nor did he attribute [to Mr. Fridman] any kind of responsibility”.
  • “Furthermore, the documentary evidence provided with the motion to dismiss of Mikhail Fridman's procedural representation proves the above, namely that he has had no direct or indirect control over the companies, let alone over the operations being investigated”.
  • “The investigating measures conducted do not allow us to assert that Mikhail Fridman had any control over Veon, that he had any involvement in the negotiations concerning the Tema Group, and that he had any direct or indirect involvement in matters relating to the Zed Group”.

Commenting on the dismissal from investigation a spokesperson for Mikhail Fridman said:

“We have always maintained that the allegations against Mr. Fridman were false and based on fabricated documents and misleading statements by Mr. Dolset and his associates. Mr. Fridman intends to explore all legal avenues to hold those who peddled these falsehoods to account. Mr. Fridman would like to thank the Spanish judicial authorities for their thorough and impartial review of this matter, which gives him great confidence to continue to support further investments in the Spanish economy."