MOSCOW, April 26 - RAPSI. The Moscow Commercial Court has postponed until May 11 the preliminary hearings in the Novolipetsk Steel  lawsuit against Maxi-Group founder Nikolai Maximov to recover $183.9 million.

NLMK acquired in 2007 a 50 percent plus one share stake in the Maxi-Group, which comprises a number of companies ranging from scrap iron recyclers to steel and finished steel producers. The acquisition was based on an agreement that did not set a fixed price for the shares.

The final calculation was postponed until due diligence was completed of the MAXI-Group companies. Meanwhile, Maximov received about 7.3 billion rubles ($248.9 million) up front. Eventually, the parties' disagreement on the transaction amount resulted in several lawsuits.

Maximov earlier said the portfolio that he sold cost about 23 billion rubles ($784 million).

NLMK stated that the transaction was conducted under false pretenses because Maximov did not provide accurate data on the external financial debt amount and the possibility of the groups bankruptcy. He asserts that the company was insolvent during the agreement's conclusion.

NLMK is one of the world's largest steel producers. Vladimir Lisin is its primary beneficiary with a 84.6 percent stake in the company. Some 2.5 percent of the shares belong to the company's management. Another 12.89 percent of the company's shares are in free float, with 8.45 percent being GDR shares floating on the London Stock Exchange.