Curtis Tate Published

Justice-Owned Company Tries In Court To Stop Seizure Of Helicopter

An overhead view of an airport runway with a mountain ridge in the background.
Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport
Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport

A coal company owned by Gov. Jim Justice is trying to stop an offshore company controlled by a Russian oligarch from seizing a helicopter it owns.

Bluestone Resources filed a stay in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia on Friday. It seeks to prevent the U.S. Marshals from seizing a 2009 Bell helicopter.

On Thursday, the court instructed the marshals to take possession of the helicopter, which is housed at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.

Caroleng Investments, based in the British Virgin Islands, sought the helicopter to recover part of the more than $10 million Bluestone owes it.

In Friday’s filing, however, Bluestone’s attorneys say the helicopter is subject to two security interests that are superior to Caroleng’s lien and secure indebtedness in excess of the helicopter’s value. Those creditors, 1st Source Bank, based in South Bend, Indiana, and Greensill Capital, based in the United Kingdom, would be paid first, not Caroleng, the filing says.

The filing also identifies Caroleng as a holding company controlled by a Russian mining and metals oligarch named Igor Zyuzin.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting reached out to the governor’s office for comment.