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Spanish Justice files case against Russian magnate Fridman for the purchase of Dia

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The Spanish justice closed the case against the Russian magnate Mikhail Fridman, who was being investigated for the circumstances of his acquisition of the Dia supermarket chain, a judicial source said Monday.

Fridman acquired Dia in May 2019 with a hostile takeover bid (OPA) launched through its LetterOne fund, when it was already the first shareholder of this struggling company.

In October 2019, the National Court, a high court specialized in complex matters, opened the investigation into the conditions of the operation, suspecting that Fridman may have maneuvered to lower the share price and buy the company at a lower cost.

This case, finally closed, could have brought Fridman to the dock for the crime of “machinations to alter the price of things.”

The Russian mogul, who became a Dia shareholder in 2017, denied the allegations and described himself as “the biggest victim” of the low-cost supermarket chain’s woes.

The businessman was also investigated in Spain for corruption, on suspicion that he had maneuvered to suffocate the Spanish technology company Zed before buying it at low cost.

He was initially charged but later exonerated by the National Court at the end of 2020.

Through its Luxembourg-based fund LetterOne, Fridman controls telecommunications, healthcare, distribution, hydrocarbons or finance companies. He is the founder of the largest Russian private bank, Alfa Bank.

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Ben Oakley
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