China: 股权代持案件中的股东优先购买权纠纷问题

Last Updated: 1 April 2019
Article by Yaran Wang and Xiaodan Yan
Most Read Contributor in China, April 2019

公司法赋予其他股东优先购买权,系以牺牲交易迅捷和转让股东的利益为代价,而维护其他股东的人合性利益及公司的经营稳定。但过分强调保障优先购买权,显然会在维护人合性利益和鼓励交易原则之间失去平衡。 《公司法司法解释四》第二十一条规定了侵害股东优先购买权的法律效果、救济途径及其他股东行使优先购买权的时限,明确了优先购买权行使的边界。但对于股权代持案件中,隐名股东与显名股东之间的"股权转让"与代持关系所引发的有限责任公司股东优先购买权纠纷并未明确规定。司法实践中对股权代持案件中其他股东能否以侵害优先购买权为由主张代持协议无效存在分歧。本文试图结合司法判例及法律规定对股东优先购买权在股权代持案件中的适用及侵害股东优先购买权的股权转让协议效力问题进行梳理和分析,以期对解决相关问题有所裨益。

案例:

A公司为一家注册在中国的有限责任公司。甲、乙为A公司的股东。2015年,第三人丁与甲股东签署《股权转让及代持协议》,约定甲转让A公司10%的股权给丁,并约定转让的10%股权由甲代丁持有,统一管理决策,行使表决权。后乙股东得知甲与丁达成《股权转让及代持协议》,认为甲、丁侵害了其优先购买权,其向法院起诉主张《股权转让及代持协议》无效,但乙并未主张按照同等条件购买转让股权。

问题:乙作为A公司股东,能否以甲与丁签署《股权转让及代持协议》侵害其优先购买权为由主张该协议无效?

本案的问题主要涉及侵害优先购买权的股权转让协议效力及股东优先购买权在股权代持案件中的适用,本文亦将通过这两个角度展开讨论本案《股权转让及代持协议》的效力问题。

一、侵害优先购买权的股权转让协议效力问题

(一)法律规定

股东未履行《公司法》第七十一条规定的程序向股东以外的人转让股权的,侵害了其他股东的优先购买权。针对侵害优先购买权的股权转让协议效力问题,一直存在的较大的争议,以下为梳理的针对该类协议效力的规定:

1.可撤销覧以最高院、江苏高院、江西高院和山东高院为代表

2.有效覧以上海高院、浙江高院为代表

3.无效覧以河南高院及《公司法司法解释四》(征求意见稿)为代表

4.直接主张按同等条件购买转让股权覧《公司法司法解释四》

《公司法司法解释四》第二十一条取代了前述各种司法解释和指导意见,其他股东可以直接主张按同等条件购买转让股权。但对于侵害优先购买权的股权转让协议效力问题并未正面回答,只是规定:"其他股东仅提出确认股权转让合同及股权变动效力等请求,未同时主张按照同等条件购买转让股权的,人民法院不予支持。"至于股权转让合同的效力究竟如何,需要根据合同法的规定和具体案情作出判断。

(二)司法判例

通过对裁判文书关键词检索,在公司法司法解释四出台之前的既往司法实践中,侵犯股东优先购买权的股权转让协议法律效力的裁判规则五花八门、非常混乱,代表性的判决观点主要为有效、无效、可撤销、效力待定等,摘录判决文书相关观点如下:

《公司法司法解释四》的出台统一司法解释的口径,相比于 《征求意见稿》第27条,有了相当大的进步,删除了《征求意见稿》第二十七条"损害其他股东优先购买权的股权转让合同无效"的规定,其他股东发现优先购买权被侵害,可直接主张按同等条件购买该转让股权,无需过问股权转让合同的效力。但《公司法司法解释四》的实施时间尚短,司法裁判效果尚未反馈。笔者期许司法实践中的裁判规则也可以借由《公司法司法解释四》的出台而得以统一。

(三)案件分析

《公司法》第七十一条第二款和第三款规定有限公司股东向股东以外的人转让股权时,其他股东有同意权、异议股东购买义务和优先购买权。从文义上理解,该规定仅仅适用于股东向第三人直接转让公司股权的交易模式,而不适用于间接转让及股权代持等交易模式。从立法目的上说,设置优先购买权的目的为维护公司人合性及经营稳定。本案中,《股权转让及代持协议》系甲与丁之间就股权代持进行的内部约定,并未涉及名义股东的股权对外转让问题,只要甲不实际交付股权,就不会引起其股东身份和股权关系的变更 1,即拟转让股权的名义股东仍然是甲并未破坏A公司的人合性,因而不涉及其他股东的优先购买权,未损害A公司利益及乙股东的利益。

另本案中,乙股东以甲与丁签署《股权转让及代持协议》侵害其优先购买权为由主张该协议无效,但未同时主张按照同等条件购买转让股权,根据 《公司法司法解释四》第二十一条第一款和第二款的规定,该主张是不能成立的。

二、股东优先购买权在股权代持案件中的适用问题

(一)法律规定

股权代持协议的有效性已经被《公司法司法解释三》所确认。根据《公司法司法解释三》第二十四条第一款的规定:有限责任公司的实际出资人与名义出资人订立合同,约定由实际出资人出资并享有投资权益,以名义出资人为名义股东,实际出资人与名义股东对该合同效力发生争议的,如无合同法第五十二条规定的情形,人民法院应当认定该合同有效。《公司法司法解释三》已经明确股权代持协议只能通过合同法第五十二条规定来否定其效力,但未规定可以侵害优先购买权为由否定股权代持协议的效力。

(二)司法判例

针对可否以侵害优先购买权为由否定股权代持协议的效力问题,笔者通过对裁判文书关键词检索,摘录相关判决文书如下:

通过分析以上案例不难得出,针对侵害股东优先购买权的股权代持协议效力的否定均可以归结为该股权代持协议违反了合同法第五十二条规定,即恶意串通,损害国家、集体或者第三人利益或者以合法形式掩盖非法目的,而非直接以侵害优先购买权来否定股权代持协议的效力。

(三)案件分析

股东优先购买权在公司立法中从保护公共利益的法定权利逐渐沦为保护个体利益的约定权利,在现行公司法中,股东优先购买权仅仅只是一种在程序上具有限制股权转让效果的程序性权利而已。 2从这个角度来说,公司法关于股东优先购买权的规定发展为不具有强制性规范的特征及效力, 3《公司法司法解释四》的相关规定也印证了该论断。因而根据 《公司法司法解释三》第二十四条第一款。侵害优先购买权并非违反了强制性法律规定,并不能导致代持协议的无效。本案中,乙不能以《股权转让及代持协议》侵害其优先购买权,违反强制性法律规定为由主张该协议无效。

另根据《公司法司法解释三》第二十四条第一款的规定,若以股权转让的形式将代持股权归还给实际出资人丁,必须经过其他股东半数以上同意,乙在丁主张显名及还原代持时仍可以主张优先购买权,故其他股东的优先购买权在代持显名时仍可以保障 4

综合以上两个方面的分析,我们认为,股权代持协议不因其侵害其他股东优先购买权而导致无效。本案中,乙不可以甲与丁签署《股权转让及代持协议》侵害其优先购买权为由主张该协议无效。

文中注释

[1]《中华人民共和国最高人民法院公报》2007年第5期(总第127期),张桂平诉王华股权转让合同纠纷一审案。

[2] 王泽鉴:《民法学说与判例研究》,中国政法大学出版社2001年版,第254页。

[3] 刘应民、张鑫:《侵害优先购买权合同效力的认定及救济途径覧兼评《公司法司法解释(四)》(征求意见稿)第27条》,载《证券法苑》第十八卷第231页。

[4] 京山县慧丰置业发展有限公司、孙斌股东资格确认纠纷【(2017)鄂08民终1232号】。

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