August 7, 2019 / 4:43 PM / 3 months ago

Spanish court summons DIA owner Fridman in Zed bankruptcy inquiry

MADRID, Aug 7 (Reuters) - A Spanish court has summoned Mikhail Fridman, who controls retailer DIA, to appear before it next month in an investigation into the bankruptcy of digital entertainment firm Zed Worldwide, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

Fridman had been called to the Madrid-based Audiencia Nacional major crimes court on Sept. 12 after a Spanish anti-graft prosecutor alleged that the Russian tycoon had played a role in Zed’s bankruptcy, the judicial source told Reuters.

A spokesman for Fridman said he had not received any legal notification regarding the summons.

“The allegations – as we currently understand them – appear to be the product of wild conspiracy theory ...

“Any allegation involving Mr Fridman in any type of illegal activity with respect to the companies of the Zed Group is totally false and we are confident the Spanish authorities – upon examination of the record – will agree with us,” the spokesman said in an emailed response to Reuters.

Fridman-linked companies acquired Zed Worldwide in 2016 for 20 million euros ($22.44 million). Spanish newspaper El Pais said that prosecutors allege that Fridman forced Zed into insolvency before taking control of it.

In an unconnected move, Fridman’s investment fund LetterOne won control of the indebted, loss-making DIA in May this year.

DIA then managed to reach an eleventh-hour deal to secure financing, staving off the imminent risk of having to start insolvency proceedings. ($1 = 0.8912 euros) (Reporting by Ashifa Kassam, Elena Rodriguez, Jose Rodriguez, editing by Andrei Khalip and Alexander Smith)

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