S&K Vertical Attorneys at Law have considerable experience in representing interests of both debtors and creditors at all stages of bankruptcy procedures, providing the full range of services necessary to effectively protect the interests of the Client. The firm’s lawyers pay great attention to the analysis of pre-bankruptcy risks, combining their legal expertise with financial and management analysis to develop preventive strategies for the protection of the Client. Our lawyers took part in more than 200 bankruptcy projects, the total amount of the debtor payables exceeds USD 3,5 billion. S&K Vertical lawyers have experience in bankruptcy of banking and financial organizations, leasing companies, developers of residential and commercial facilities, oil and gas companies and mining, production and transport enterprises, as well as large retailers. The lawyers have an impressive experience in representing creditors and debtors in corporate debt restructuring processes in bankruptcy procedures.
The firm’s practice in the sphere of bankruptcy (insolvency) has been repeatedly recognized as one of the best in Russia (according to rating for 2011—2021), included in the top-5 best in the market according to the Kommersant newspaper (2016-2021), and also recommended by the Chambers и IFLR1000 international ratings. The firm’s partners are recognized as leading lawyers in bankruptcy cases (Kommersant, 2017-2021).

Project experience

  • On behalf of creditors — participation in meetings and committees of creditors, interaction with other creditors and development of an agreed position, protection of the rights of minority creditors, analysis of the possibility of replenishment of the bankruptcy estate in the conditions of insufficient documents and information, interaction with electronic trading platforms and bid organizers, including the following projects: development of an exclusive strategy for the realization of the minority creditor rights in the bankruptcy procedure of a contractor engaged in construction of underground railway in St. Petersburg (lawsuit price exceeded USD 160 mln.); complex legal support for the bankruptcy procedure of a large machine building plant with the registered creditor claims exceeding USD 60 mln; complex legal support for the bankruptcy procedure of a large construction company that erected residential and non-residential buildings with the registered creditor claims exceeding USD 5 mln.; legal support for the bankruptcy procedure of a large oil trader with a lawsuit exceeding USD 16 mln; representation of a bank (top-10) in more than 30 bankruptcy projects with the amount of claims exceeding 5 billion rubles; representation of Asian export-import agencies in the bankruptcy of Russian debtors with the volume of claims exceeding 500 million rubles;
  • On behalf of debtors — legal consultations, analysis of obligations and risks ahead of possible bankruptcy, development of an anti-crisis strategy, representation of the debtor’s interests at the stages of supervision and financial recovery, debt restructuring, preparation and filing the debtor’s application for bankruptcy according to Art. 9 of the Law on Bankruptcy, including the following projects: advising to a large industrial enterprise regarding the business restructuring ahead of possible bankruptcy, the volume of claims amounts to 1,5 billion rubles; prevention of bankruptcy of a large oil company in the North-West Region of Russia with the potential creditor claims exceeding 36 bln rubles;
  • On behalf of secured creditors — representation of secured creditors in insolvency cases, setting claims, especially where there is a dispute regarding the existence of the subject of pledge (movable property, goods in circulation, receivables), agreement with the receiver and approval in court of provisions for the sale of collateral and of the initial selling price, disputes concerning the initial selling price, legal support for the bidding process, challenging transactions of the bankrupt debtor on the damage infliction basis, including the following projects: representation of a bank in the bankruptcy case of a group of companies specializing in the production and sale of live fermentation beverages, the third largest in Russia per market share, with the registered creditor claims exceeding USD 26 mln; representation of a bank in the bankruptcy case of the largest agro-industrial holding regarding the existence of the pledged goods in circulation, the amount of claims is 250 million rubles; inclusion of claims of the secured creditor in the list of registered creditors while the receiver and the creditors challenged the client’s pledge agreement for a number of reasons (the transaction is intended to cause damage, the transaction is void, violation of approval provisions), the amount of claims is 300 million rubles; representation of a bank in challenging the bidding results by one of the bidders who was proven to have abused its rights, the amount of claims is 400 million rubles;
  • Challenging the bankrupt debtor’s transactions with reference to the intention to cause damage (Article 61,2 of the Law on Bankruptcy) and preferential satisfaction of the claim of one of the creditors (Article 61,3 of the Law on Bankruptcy) is one of the most powerful elements in defending the rights of unsecured creditors. Among the projects are: defense of a client, a company with foreign element, against dozens of lawsuits filed by an unscrupulous contractor, with the lawsuit amount exceeding USD 5 mln; challenging the transactions of a bankrupt debtor due to infliction of damage; bankruptcy of one of the contractors engaged in construction of the Kerch Strait bridge, motor roads in the Crimea and highways between St. Petersburg and Moscow, with the lawsuit amount exceeding USD 22 mln.; legal support for a dispute regarding recovery of order securities based on the promisser’s application, with the total disputed amount exceeding USD 1 mln.; representing a bank in a number of claims by which the other party - on the basis of Article 61.3 of the Law on Bankruptcy - tried to invalidate the interrelated transactions in which a debt was paid to the bank, the amount of the lawsuit is USD 8 million; representation of interests of the defendant in the case of challenging the transaction while proving the qualifying signs of insufficiency of the debtor’s property based on the analysis of the structure of the debtor’s balance sheet, the lawsuit amount is 300 million rubles;
  • Subsidiary liability and recovery of losses from persons controlling the debtor. Along with challenging the transactions, subsidiary liability, as well as recovery of losses, is a serious tool for replenishing the insolvency estate, in some cases it is even the only way to discharge claims. In such disputes, the lawyers of S&K Vertical represented the interests of both plaintiffs (receivers and unsecured creditors) and defendants (executives and shareholders of debtors). Among the projects there are successful cases of arraignment of the executives of the debtor and replenishing of insolvency estate on this basis, as well as defending the executives who, despite the subsequent bankruptcy of the enterprise, acted on the eve of bankruptcy in good faith and reasonably;
  • Bankruptcy of individuals is handled both in bankruptcy of a group of borrowers or guarantors, and in complex and atypical disputes (major disputes, bankruptcy with a foreign element, bankruptcy of the deceased debtor), among the projects: active measures in the case of bankruptcy of –the beneficiary of a group of companies, which allowed to achieve positive results in cases of bankruptcy of the enterprises of the group;
  • Bankruptcy of companies, among the projects: representing a bona fide purchaser of pledged property in the challenge by the bank’s insolvency administrator of a transaction aimed at withdrawal of assets , the amount of claims is 5 billion rubles; representation of individuals (a bank’s creditors) in a dispute over the inclusion of individuals on the list of registered creditors of the bank while having insufficient evidence regarding the size of the claim and facing severe opposition on the side of the insolvency administrator, the amount of claims is USD 20 million; legal support for the acquisition of a bankrupt bank’s claim secured by pledge of liquid assets in the competitive bidding held by the Deposit Insurance Agency;
  • Challenging the actions of receivers, imposing liability on receivers, among the projects: removal of the receiver and formation of the evidentiary basis for the subsequent recovery of losses in the case of insolvency of an oil producing enterprise; removal of the receiver in the bankruptcy procedure of a production enterprise of the oil-extracting industry with the subsequent election of the receiver proposed by the client; successful challenge of the expenditures allegedly incurred by the receiver in the bankruptcy case of a large agricultural producer.
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