The management and shareholders of the Zaliv shipyard (Kerch, Crimea) have reported that a company named Zaliv Shipyard LLC (Moscow) forcibly took over the shipyard on 24 August with the help of armed people, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reports.

"Throughout the day on 24 August 2014, the invaders exerted pressure on the director of the Zaliv shipyard (Kerch) to force him to sign a lease agreement with the front company Zaliv Shipyard LLC (registered in Moscow a few days earlier) with an authorized capital of RUB 10,000," the Zaliv shipyard said in a statement said on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the general director of the shipyard informed Crimean security agencies about the forcible takeover of the shipyard, but the police, the FSB, and the special police unit that was sent to the scene took no action.

The shipyard said that the corporate raiders convened a meeting of the shipyard’s employees at 10:00 on 25 August, at which a representative of the A. M. Gorky Zelenodolsk plant (Tatarstan, Russia), A. Zherdev, presented himself as the director of Zaliv Shipyard LLC (Moscow) and announced that the Zaliv Shipyard LLC had taken all the production facilities of the shipyard on a long-term lease despite the fact that no representative of the shipyard’s legitimate management signed any lease agreements.

In addition, employees of the shipyard were asked to resign from the Zaliv shipyard (Kerch) and take up employment with the Moscow-based Zaliv Shipyard LLC, the Crimean-based shipyard said in a statement. The statement added that the corporate raiders unlawfully seized documents from the shipyard during the day: they broke into offices, confiscated constituent documents and seals. The statement said that the shipyard remained sealed off as of 26 August and that the legitimate leadership of the shipyard was not allowed onto its territory.

The press service of the Crimean Ministry of Information and Communication issued a press release on behalf of the Zaliv shipyard earlier on Tuesday, according to which Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Zhevago has been removed from the management of the shipyard. The press release claimed that Zhevago illegally took possession of shares in the shipyard and used it to launder illicit proceeds.

A week earlier, Crimea’s Minister of Industry Andrei Skrynnik said that the Zaliv shipyard was practically not functioning and that Russian companies were holding buyout negotiations with the owner of the shipyard.