Accountancy firm Mazars has been appointed as bankruptcy trustees to Russian tycoon Vladimir Kekhman, whose wealth has been estimated at £5 billion.
Kekhman, 44, who founded the fruit importing company JFC Group and calls himself the “banana king”, came to the UK in October to petition for a bankruptcy order against him. He is believed to have declared personal liabilities of around £400m.
Heath Sinclair, a partner at Mazars, and senior manager Tim Hewson were appointed as Kekhman’s trustees in bankruptcy.
Hewson said: “This is going to be a complex matter and it is important that we gain a full understanding of all the issues, to ultimately maximise returns for creditors.”
JFC Group went into insolvency last year.
Frances Coulson, head of insolvency and litigation at Moon Beever, told Credit Today the UK’s bankruptcy regime has proved attractive to other nationals due to its one-year discharge period.
Stephen Allinson, insolvency practitioner and consultant at law firm Lester Aldridge, said: “This case has received a lot of industry interest, both because of the size of the debts and the fact that there is concern the bankrupt may use Britain’s apparently ‘softer’ bankruptcy laws to ease his plight.
“However, this man has substantial assets in England so the order is properly made.”