I accept the evidence of Mr. Laskaridis that he saw the Guarantee with Mr. Skock’s signature and the Bank’s stamp, but I am not satisfied that Mr. Laskaridis knew the identify or the position of the signatory of the Guarantee. In his oral evidence Mr. Laskaridis said that he had been told that Mr. Skock was the head of SCICB in Nikolaev, and of his standing there. I am unable to accept that evidence…

by on 4 July 2022

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The Bank was incorporated under Ukrainian law on 26 August 1992 when the Articles of Association were registered. On the same day a state-owned bank in the Ukraine called State Commercial Industrial and Construction Bank (“SCICB”), with a regional department in Nikolaev, ceased to exist. The Bank was not the legal successor to the SCICB, but in commercial terms it took over the business: many of the former customers of SCICB, including the Yard, became customers of Bank, and many of the employees of SCICB, including Mr. Skock, became employees of the Bank. Records about SCICB’s customers were transferred to the Bank.
The Bank’s head office is in Kiev, and it has a network of Divisions or branches and above them Departments that manage regions and the Divisions in them. One such Department is that for the Nikolaev region, a region where, in the early 1990s, there were some seven branches as well as the regional central office. Nikolaev is an industrial region and the Department’s customers included two other shipyard companies as well as the Yard and also a large alumina plant. The Nikolaev Department of the Bank had a foreign currency department that provided foreign currency transaction services for industrial clients. Mr. Skock was the Head of the Nikolaev Regional Department of the Bank from August 1992 when the Bank was formed, having held the corresponding position with SCICB since 1987. He held this position until the end of April 1994, shortly before his death in May 1994.
The Buyer is a Panamanian company. It is in the Laskaridis group (the “Group”), which has extensive shipping interests, and manages a fleet of some 80 merchant vessels, many of them refrigerated cargo vessels and smaller tankers. The Group’s President is Mr. Athanassios Laskaridis.
In 1991 the Group bought from a Swiss seller a ship which had been built at the Yard. Mr. Laskaridis was impressed with her and approached the Yard about constructing vessels for the Group. In the summer of 1992, after the Ukraine had declared itself independent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on 24 August 1991 and the leaders of the Russian, Ukrainian and Belarus Republics had announced the dissolution of the Union on 21 December 1991, the Yard sent a delegation, led by its General Director, Mr. I N Ovdienko, to Greece to discuss the possibility of the Yard building ships for the Group. During that visit, on 22 August 1992, the Group agreed to buy six vessels from the Yard, and took and exercised an option for three more. More specifically, the Group bought three deep freezer ships each costing US$7.8 million, one of which (hull no 1135) was available for immediate delivery and two of which (hulls nos 1136 and 1137) were to be constructed; three deep freezer ships (hulls nos 1138, 1139 and 1140) for the carriage of fruit were to be constructed for US$10.03 million each; and, by the exercise of the option, three similar deep freezer ships (hulls nos 1141, 1142 and 1143), each costing US$10.03 million, were also to be built…..

…..In a Protocol of Discussion dated 17 July 1998 which referred to the Master Graphic and signed by the Ukrainian Minister of Industrial Policy, by the Governor of the Ukrainian National Bank and by Mr. Laskaridis, it was noted, “The Customer have reached agreement with Ministry of Industrial Policy, Fisheries Committee and Local Administration of Nikolaev on the requirements for the completion of the Refrigerated Ships Project …”

…..I accept the evidence of Mr. Laskaridis that he saw the Guarantee with Mr. Skock’s signature and the Bank’s stamp, but I am not satisfied that Mr. Laskaridis knew the identify or the position of the signatory of the Guarantee. In his oral evidence Mr. Laskaridis said that he had been told that Mr. Skock was the head of SCICB in Nikolaev, and of his standing there. I am unable to accept that evidence…

To Be Continued