N. Strikulys is suspected of having embezzled almost half a million euros, which were received during the auction after the sale of apartments and houses of bankrupt people. It was not only the creditors who did not receive their money that were bitten. In this way, the destinies of people who decided to go bankrupt were also crushed – if they did not receive money, their bankruptcy procedures were terminated.
A pre-trial investigation has been initiated against N. Strikulis and his company “Lexuna”.
This is the first case in Lithuania where a bankruptcy administrator is suspected of embezzling debtors’ money belonging to creditors.
The bank appealed to the court
The fact that the bankruptcy administrator N. Strikulys behaves suspiciously with the borrowers’ money was one of the first to be noticed by the lawyers of the bank “Swedbank”.
This became especially evident when N. Strikulis’ company “Lexuna” became the bankruptcy administrator of Alfredo K. from Kaunas, who decided to go bankrupt.
The man was heavily in debt, and his biggest creditor was Swedbank. For a loan of more than 500 thousand euros, Alfredas K. had pledged his house with a plot of land to this bank.
Although the bankruptcy case was filed back in 2018, according to the bankers, the bankruptcy administrator delayed the procedures of selling the building through tenders and disposed of this house himself.
The bank appealed to the court to remove the bankruptcy administrator, but the court did not see anything wrong with his actions.
The creditors did not receive the money
The surprises began last January, when the bankruptcy administrator, without notifying the creditors, allowed the debtor Alfred K. to sell half of the house to a buyer of his choice. The part of the house was bought for 153 thousand euros by an acquaintance of the debtor and all the money was transferred to the deposit account controlled by the bankruptcy administrator.
According to the law, Lexuna had to transfer all the money received, after deducting the salary for work, to the mortgage creditor Swedbank within 10 days.
However, even after a month, the bank did not receive the money.
After learning by chance that part of the property had been sold, the bankers once again appealed to the court, requesting that Lexuna be removed from the position of bankruptcy administrator. The bank has already accused the company and its manager not only of negligence, but also of a criminal offense – embezzlement.
“The bankruptcy administrator, who hid the realization of the real estate and received the funds, did not transfer them to the mortgage creditor without justifiable reasons.
With such actions, the bankruptcy administrator is probably committing a criminal act due to the embezzlement and waste of other people’s property,” Swedbank representatives stated.
However, the court again favored the bankruptcy trustee. Kaunas District Court judge Laima Kriaučiūnaitė stated that the bankruptcy administrator did not do anything criminal, and the money will be paid when the rest of the house is sold.
He came up with various reasons
But half a year later, when another part of the house was sold for the same amount of 153 thousand euros, the money was not transferred to the creditor.
When the bank demanded payment, N. Strikulys even promised several times that the funds would be transferred immediately. However, time passed, and the bank never received the promised money.
“N. Strikulys always found some reason – he got sick, or an accident happened to his relatives. And he kept promising that the money would be there the day after tomorrow,” said representatives of Swedbank.
Speaking to the correspondent of “Lietuvos ryto”, N. Strikulys said that it was almost not the bank’s fault that they did not transfer 300 thousand euros to him: “We did not transfer the funds to the bank because the bank itself had specified the details incorrectly, and after correcting them, we were dismissed from our positions and we couldn’t do it. All obligations must be fulfilled by the newly appointed administrator.”
The only asset is the trailer
Not satisfied with waiting, Swedbank’s lawyers applied to the Kaunas District Prosecutor’s Office to start a pre-trial investigation.
The investigators quickly established that 306 thousand euros received for the sale of the entire house were illegally transferred from the account of deposit debtor Alfredo K. to the account of the company “Lexuna” and disappeared from there.
When the prosecutors tried to seize the property, it turned out that neither N. Strikulys nor Lexuna had anything, and all the accounts were empty. The only movable property of N.Strikulis, which the investigators were able to find, is a 1987 MAZ trailer worth 360 euros.
Although N. Strikulys did not have any assets, he lived in a luxurious house of 550 square meters near Vilnius owned by the well-known businessman and patron Žilvins Mecelius, and drove luxury cars. True, he himself declared that he lives in the city of Limassol in Cyprus.
Money for a recreation complex?
Before the possible scandal with Swedbank, the bankruptcy administrator became the director of the Cypriot company Ige Investments limited (IIL). This company, through its controlled company “Tanera”, bought the prestigious “Belvilio” spa and recreation complex located in Molėtai district.
N.Strikulys also managed “Tanera” for some time. According to the order signed by himself, he received a salary of 1,200 euros for 5 hours of work per month.
In March last year, as the director of the sole shareholder of “Tanera” – the Cypriot company IIL – N. Strikulys signed an order to dismiss himself from the position of director of “Tanera”, and he appointed a well-known model Gerda Zubrickaitė to lead “Belvili”.
The bank did not steal anything
While Kaunas prosecutors searched in vain for where the 300,000 euros for Swedbank had gone, the Vilnius district prosecutor’s office opened another case against N.Strikulis.
It turned out that other banks, including SEB, could have been deceived by a similar method.
At the end of last year, while administering the bankruptcy case of spouses Asta and Marius living in Alytus, “Lexuna” sold their land plot mortgaged to SEB Bank. Most of the received 43 thousand euros should have been transferred to the mortgage creditor, but this was also not done.
And in this case, N. Strikulys tried to justify why he didn’t transfer the funds: “Work fell through due to the quarantine, after that I got sick myself, I had to fire several people related to the case.
However, the report will be prepared today and the money will be transferred.”
However, SEB not only did not receive the money due to it either that day or later, but also remained with the split geld. Seeing that they would not receive money from Lexuna, the bankers tried to pressure the helpless spouses and objected to their being declared bankrupt.
As a result, passions boiled for a long time at court. Finally, the Alytus District Court concluded that the spouses were not guilty that the mortgage creditor did not receive any money after the sale of their plot, and offered SEB Bank to recover the funds from Lexuna, which had no assets, and which was also declared bankrupt soon after.
The bankruptcy case was terminated
But not all persons who wanted to go bankrupt, whose cases were administered by “Lexuna”, were as lucky as the spouses from Alytus.
Marius J. from Klaipėda had a bankruptcy case filed back in 2015.
The man said that all documents related to the bankruptcy were prepared by N. Strikulys. He is said to have prepared a solvency recovery plan.
As stipulated in this plan, Marius J. deposited part of the earned money into a deposit account controlled by Lexunos, and this company, after deducting its expenses, was obliged to transfer the funds to the creditors.
However, the creditors received only a small part of the money, almost everything was taken by the bankruptcy administrator.
Having decided that Marius J. is not fulfilling his obligations, the biggest creditor “Būsto poskolau draudimas” applied to the court and the bankruptcy case was terminated for the man from Klaipėda. The court stated that the person seeking bankruptcy must take care of how the solvency plan is implemented.
“I was deceived and misled. During the bankruptcy process, N. Strikulys did not pick up the phone, did not answer e-mails, and was not at work for weeks. Then, as if out of nowhere, someone appeared and reassured me that everything would be fine. I used to trust him and now – I got hit in the face with a wet rag”, said Marius J.
The man from Klaipėda claimed that due to N.Strikul’s deception, he suffered huge damage, he could no longer feed his family, and his wife left him because of that.
“Now only after ten years I will be able to apply for my personal bankruptcy again, all that time I will have a debt of more than 100 thousand euros,” sighed the man.
The temptation is great
Currently, several criminal cases have been brought against N. Strikulis and his company “Lexuna”, and about 50 bankruptcy cases that they administered have been transferred to other bankruptcy administrators. However, the latter are investigating these cases.
“How to work when everything that could be stolen was stolen?”
He took everything he could for himself – he took both tens of thousands and a few euros. I know a case when the last 8 euros were written off from an old woman’s account,” said a bankruptcy administrator familiar with Lexuna’s cases to “Lietuvos rytui”.
The interviewee admitted that there is a considerable temptation to take other people’s money during the administration of cases.
“I myself, when more than 2 million euros fell into the deposit account under my control, I caught myself thinking that I could take that money and spend my days peacefully somewhere in Latin America. “Maybe N. Strikulys thinks like that – after all, if he is convicted, he probably won’t get a real prison sentence, and with that kind of money, he can live peacefully for at least 10 years”, said the official.
Documents were not submitted
N. Strikulys himself claimed to “Lietuvos rytui” that he did not embezzle any money: “We did not embezzle funds during the bankruptcy proceedings, because civil cases are currently pending in the courts.
If the said sums are awarded, then it will be paid.
All amounts that were paid out were done according to approved court plans and in accordance with the procedure established by law.”
N. Strikulys also promised to submit documents that would prove that both he and his company “Lexuna” conducted the bankruptcy procedures in a transparent and legal manner.
However, he did not submit the documents in more than two months. One time he said he was in the hospital, another time he explained that his child was sick, his car broke down or other reasons.
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