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Zaim Credit loses control over Russia-based Zaim Express; COO absent

18th Jan 2023 14:07

(Alliance News) - Zaim Credit Systems PLC on Wednesday said it lost control over its Russia-based subsidiary Zaim Express LLC, ownership of which was transferred to a 'Mr Sidorov' without knowledge of the company.

Zaim noted that it lost contact with its Moscow-based team, including its own chief operating officer, Vladmir Golovko.

Zaim is a Russia-focused fintech company, with Zaim Express having been under investigation since September, when Zaim noticed that "something was amiss when the Zaim Express team in Moscow stopped communicating with the directors of the company in London". Zaim Credit shares have been suspended since the start of the investigation.

Zaim said that in the Russian State Register of Legal Entities, ownership over Zaim Express has been changed to a 'Mr Sidorov', away from Zaim. The company explained that it tried to contact key employees of Moscow-based Zaim, including COO Golovko. "From public searches we have been able to confirm that Mr Golovko remains a general director of Zaim Express following its sale to Mr Sidorov," the company said.

It plans to call a general meeting shortly, at which it aims to remove Golovko from his role as a director.

Zaim added that its own website can no longer be relied upon, as it is under control of the team in Moscow. It said that a new website is in the process of being established.

Chair Malcolm Groat said: "In view of the tremendous efforts made during Covid to grow the business in Russia and begin to take the model to new countries and in view of the success achieved operationally and commercially in the past two years, it is tragic that everything that has been built and the prospects that lay ahead of the group has been taken from us. Zaim is left severely damaged and must now plot a new course to bring back value for our investors."

Meanwhile on Wednesday, the UK's Financial Reporting Council said it started an investigation into Zaim Credit's audit for its financial year 2021 report, conducted by Shipleys LLP.

Further on Wednesday, Zaim Credit released its figured for the half-year to June 30, 2022, which it emphasised included Zaim Express figures, over which it has no more effective operating control. In the half-year, the business swung to a pretax loss of GBP189,000 from a profit of GBP296,000 a year prior. Net interest income fell by 16% to GBP3.5 million from GBP4.2 million.

By Tom Budszus, Alliance News reporter

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