Russia's Central Partnership Founder Sues ProfMedia

Ruben Dishdishyan, who founded the Russian production company in 1995, is accusing ProfMedia of diluting his share.

MOSCOW -- Ruben Dishdishyan, the founder and former president of the Russian production company Central Partnership, is suing the owner, ProfMedia, which is in the process of being taken over by Gazprom Media. Since a bitter parting of Dishdishyan and Central Partnership three years ago, there has been a series of court litigations between the company in its founder.

In a new litigation, Dishdishyan, who has remained Central Partnership's shareholder, claims that changes to the company's ownership structure, made last spring, led to the dilution of his share, which until then corresponded to a blocking stake.

The acquisition of ProfMedia by Gazprom Media -- the media wing of the natural gas giant Gazprom for reported $1 billion, announced last November -- also upset Dishdishyan.

"I, as a minority stake holder, don't even seem to be part of the deal," Dishdishyan was quoted as saying by Russian business daily Vedomosti. "And I have also found out that my share in the company has been diluted."

Dishdishyan, who founded Central Partnership back in 1995, left the company in the spring of 2011, allegedly over differences with ProfMedia, which acquired a majority stake in the film and TV producer in 2005. Since then, the company and its founder have taken each other to court on a number of occasions.

In 2012, a court ruled that a company related to Dishdishyan was to repay Central Partnership $2.1 million (69.3 million rubles).

In another lawsuit, which is still pending, the company is trying to return $1.7 million paid to its ex-president as a loan.