The witness statement of Yukos’ own in-house lawyer details how the oligarchs were so desperate they resorted to farcical ways of getting rid of evidence. Dmitry Gololobov was at Yukos from 1995 to 2004 as Deputy General Counsel and subsequently General Counsel. His evidence was filed into the United States District Court, District of Columbia, on 26 July 2016. It shows:
“After failing to remove itself from financial difficulties, Bank Menatep was declared insolvent and liquidated in 1999. The Oligarchs had prepared a debt-restructuring program, but the Central Bank did not consider it to be adequate – and thus revoked the Bank Menatep’s banking license in May 1999. On September 20 1999 Bank Menatep’s creditors voted for liquidation. On September 29 1999 the Moscow Arbitrazh Court formally initiated liquidation of Bank Menatep under the supervision of temporary administrator Mr Alexey Karmanov.
Notably Mr Karmanov was never able to obtain the full record reflecting Bank Menatep’s assets and liabilities. Before the liquidation considerable number of Bank Menatep’s assets had been transferred to a separate banking entity, Menatep St Petersburg, in order to shield them from Bank Menatep’s creditors. In order to conceal this transfer from the administrator the Oligarchs destroyed a large of Bank Menatep’s records by driving a truck into a tributary of the Volga known as the River Dubna. The driver had set out from Moscow on May 24 1999 and crashed the car into the river destroying 607 boxes of documents. This took place one week after Bank Menatep’s banking license was revoked.
As reported by Kommersant on May 29 1999, the driver of the truck claimed to be transporting these documents from Moscow Novgorod, where the State Archive of the Novgorod Region was waiting to take possession of Bank Menatep’s documents during the forthcoming insolvency and liquidation proceedings. The location of the accident was near the town of Dubna. Had the driver actually been taking the direct route from Moscow to Novgorod (which was the M10 highway, about one full hour’s drive to the south west of Dubna), then he never would have driven through Dubna at all. Supposedly the driver had taken this route because he was attempting to avoid traffic – which made little sense, because he was driving at night. The traffic police were also surprised that the driver was able to survive the crash completely unharmed.
At some point after this incident,, I remember being told by Mikhail Dodonov, an executive at Bank Menatep, that he had arranged the incident in order to destroy these records. Supposedly most of the documents were carried away by the current, and numerous creditors and clients of bank Menatep were unable to recover their funds as a result.”