Novorossiysk Port CEO Says He’s Innocent as Russia Opens Case

Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port CEO Rado Antolovic plans to defend himself after Russian investigators opened a criminal case and searched the company’s offices.

Antolovic believes the charges are groundless, a Novorossiysk press official, who asked not to be identified citing company policy, said by phone today. Antolovic is on a business trip abroad, meeting with Novorossiysk clients, the official said.

Investigators seized documents from the port’s offices in connection with a case against an acting CEO who held the position in 2011, the Investigative Committee in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region said yesterday on its website. The suspect wasn’t named.

Antolovic was named acting CEO of the port group in April 2012 and appointed CEO in July, according to the Novorossiysk official. He has worked at Novorossiysk since April 2011, according to the company’ website.

A shareholder conflict erupted this year between OAO Transneft and businessman Ziyavudin Magomedov’s Summa Group over management of the company, which runs oil terminals on the Black and Baltic Seas.

In January, Transneft, Russia’s oil pipeline operator, called for Antolovic to be replaced because of financial and operational results. The partners settled the dispute, agreeing to appoint Transneft’s First Vice President Maxim Grishanin as chairman of the board.

Transneft and Summa own a joint venture that holds a controlling 50.1 percent of the Novorossiysk port group.