Simar Shipping Files Complaint Against Russian Crab Importer, Global Fishing, Inc.

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Cypriot shipping company brings U.S. lawsuit over USD $5.8 million Russian crab deal gone bad.

Simar’s lawsuit alleges Global Fishing purchased 505 metric tons of crab from Simar for USD$5,807,500,in 2007, for which Global has yet to pay.

Simar Shipping Limited just filed a USD $5.8 million complaint against Global Fishing, Inc., (http://www.globaltr.net/about_gf.php) for Global’s alleged breach of a maritime contract to pay for Russian crab. Global Fishing, Inc., was once the largest importer of Russian crab into the United States, but that changed after the arrest of its President in Russia. Simar Shipping is a Cyprus based shipping company, and it is pursuing its maritime lawsuit against Global in King County Superior Court of the State of Washington (case no. 09-2-43946). Simar is using the international boutique law firm of Harris & Moure, pllc (http://www.harrismoure.com), to handle this international debt collection case.    

In November, 2007, The Seattle Times did article on Global Fishing and the arrest of one of its leading executives, Arkadi Gontmacher. That story can be found here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004010535_russiancrab13m.html. That article noted the following about Global Fishing and Mr. Gontmacher:

1. “Global Fishing, sold $148 million in seafood last year."

2. “Gontmakher, an American citizen from Ukraine, has lived in high style, driving a Bentley and building a red-brick mansion atop a Bellevue hill.” The article includes a picture of Mr. Gontmakher’s house and notes that it is 13,610-square-feet and “includes a brick outer wall, ornate metal gates, marble fountains, twin lion statues at the front door and a large indoor swimming pool.”

3. “In late September, Gontmakher was arrested and jailed in Moscow. He is accused of money-laundering and participating in a massive poaching operation that illegally exported millions of pounds of king crab to the United States, according to reports in the Russian press.”

4. “Global Fishing is the largest U.S. importer of the Russian product, its crab sold in grocery stores across the country.”

5. “Global Fishing officials, in a statement released to The Seattle Times, say that the company ‘has always sought to operate in a legal and ethical manner,’ and their 30-person business remains strong. They say all their crab has full documentation to the point of purchase, and has been inspected and cleared by Russian and United States agencies.”

6. “In the first six months of this year, his company [Global Fishing] brought in 20 million pounds of Russian king crab — an amount roughly equal to this year's entire Alaska red-king-crab harvest, according to the Urner Barry Foreign Trade Database.”

7. “Gontmakher's arrest comes amid President Vladimir Putin's broader push to reassert Moscow's control over natural resources. Some believe the arrest may also have political undertones as the government seeks to reward supporters and to crack down on businesspeople who have fallen out of favor.”

8. “Global Fishing officials say the company does not catch its own crab but buys from other fishing companies.”

9. Gontmakher and two others “are accused by the Russian government of moving some $200 million worth of poached seafood out of Russia.”

Global Fishing’s website still lists it as “the largest importer of crab into the United States” and Costco still lists Global Fishing as a vendor.

Simar’s lawsuit alleges Global Fishing purchased 505 metric tons of crab from Simar for USD$5,807,500, in 2007, for which Global has yet to pay. The complaint seeks interest and attorneys’ fees in addition to the $5.8 million. In 2008, Harris & Moure pursued Global Fishing on behalf of two Korean companies for millions in debt allegedly owed to them (Case Nos. 08-2-33305-1 SEA, and 08-2-0966-2 SEA, Superior Court of King County, Washington).

Charles Moure, one of the Harris & Moure attorneys on the Global Fishing case, notes how his firm “has in the past year been inundated with companies seeking representation on their international debt collection litigation and arbitration matters.” Mr. Moure says very few law firms both have the know-how and the interest to take on such matters even though the number of international debt collection cases greatly increased as the world economy went into decline.

About Harris & Moure

Harris & Moure is a US based boutique international law firm with an office located in Qingdao, China. For more information, visit http://www.harrismoure.com.

For press inquiries, please contact:

Stephanie Henry
Harris & Moure, pllc
600 Stewart Street, Suite 1200
Tel: (206) 224-5657 (9 am to 5pm PST)     Fax: (206) 224-5659
http://www.harrismoure.com

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