Creditors hoping to collect $1.4 billion from OPK Biotech are seeking to force the Biopure Corp. successor into Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
In 2009, Russian industrialist Sergei Pugachev, whose holdings included banks, mines, ships and the French gourmet emporium Hediard, paid $4.1 million to acquire Biopure’s assets out of bankruptcy. Pugachev, a onetime crony of Vladimir Putin who went from serving in the Russian Senate to facing fraud charges in Moscow, fled the country and is reportedly on Russia’s international wanted list.
Biopure 1st waved the white flag in July 2009. Now a group of 8 creditors wants a Massachusetts bankruptcy court to put OPK Biotech, a U.S. subsidiary of Pugachev’s Luxembourgh-based OPK Luxadvor SA created to take over Biopure and its ill-fated flagship product, Hemopure, court records show. The alleged debts range from more than $612,000, owed to Spear Realty of Coopersburg, Pa., to wages & compensation of $3,600 and change owed to another creditor.
OPK Biotech rebranded Hemopure as Oxypure and aimed it at the veterinary market.
Pugachev’s OPK Luxadvor was established as a holding company for several European luxury brands including Luxe TV, Design Capital and Hediard, a chain of over 300 high-end stores, cafes and restaurants based in Paris. Although Forbes once estimated that Pugachev’s personal wealth at more than $2 billion, he is now accused of appropriating a $1.2 billion emergency loan meant to prop up his ailing bank and funneling the cash to Luxembourg.
Attorney David Madoff, who is representing the OPK Biotech creditors, told the Boston Business Journal that some of his clients have been owed back wages or other fees for services for several months, adding that other creditors not part of his lawsuit are probably in the same boat. Calls to the number listed on OPK’s website went unanswered and there was no response to an email sent to several company representatives, the newspaper reported.