Details of an inquest on embezzlement of Podmoskovye (Moscow Region) budget funds amounting to USD 1 billion by RIGroup Company; this money was used by Moscow Region ex-Minister of Finance Mr Kuznetsov to pay for the most expensive wedding in the history of new Russia
|Bride Zoe Bullock followed by step-father Alexei Kuznetsov coming to the banquet in the new Rolls-Royce|
Тhree Cases of Missing Billionaires
Now Russian law enforcement bodies conduct three separate investigations of the results of the Moscow Region Governmnet Minister of Finance Alexei Kuznetsov activities. The Main Investigations Directorate at the Moscow Region Chief Department of Internal Affairs investigates the case of over RUR 1 billion embezzlement, the Main Investigations Directorate of the Investigations Committee at the Prosecutor’s Office of Russia tries to find those guilty in embezzling over RUR 3 billion when conducting sham works in the sphere of housing and public utilities in Podmoskovye ten districts. On 12th February, 2010 the Investigations Committee at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the RF has opened its own criminal case on RUR 27 billion embezzlement, and is now investigating it. Kuznetsov’s first deputy, Valery Nosov, is already arrested.
|The wedding guests were taken to the church by boat|
The persons involved in all three criminal cases are RIGroup Company («Russian Investment Group») headed by Janna Bullock, the wife of Podmoskovye ex Minister of Finance, Alexei Kuznetsov (before she relocated to USA in late 1980s her name was Zhanna Bullakh, after receiving the citizenship she became Janna Bullock), and the biggest subsidiary of the Moscow Region Government - ОJSC «Моscow Regional Investment Trust Company» (МОIТК).
МОIТК was founded in October, 2000 to implement the government order on infrastructure and investment projects in Podmoskovye. The company was 100% subsidiary of the Moscow Region Government, hence the regional authorities reimbursed all MOITK expenses on various projects from the budget. In 2003, the company became the authorized investment adviser of the Moscow Region Government Ministry of Finance, аs well as the customer and investor of most of the construction sites in Moscow Region.
Pumping with Money
МОIТК is an incorporator of the OJSC «Moscow Region Mortgage Corporation» (IKМО), while the latter in its turn incorporated «Моscow Regional Mortgage Agency» (МОIА). These three «daughters» of the Moscow Region Government pumped the money in various ways, including debenture issue, while the Moscow Region authorities were the guarantee for their transactions. In the result due to many debts of MOITK, IKМО and МОIА, one of the biggest Russian regions was on the verge of default in December, 2008.
|Guests were shown at which table to seat at the entrance|
At the same time the law enforcement bodies became interested by the fact where did all the government funds really flow. Starting from 2009, criminal cases began to appear on budget funds’ embezzlement. Тhus, the Investigations Committee at the Prosecutor’s Office of the RF investigates a fraud case amounting to over RUR 3 billion; accused are the former head of MOITK, Vladislav Telepnyov, and Moscow Region ex-Minister of Finance, Alexei Kuznetsov (he was put on the international wanted list). The Main Investigations Directorate at the Moscow Region Chief Department of Internal Affairs the case is at hand on over RUR 1 billion embezzlement; this money was transferred by IKMO to RIGroup-Finance accounts and later transferred to off-shores.
In the new investigation of Investigations Committee at the Ministry of Internal Affairs it becomes clear how the budget funds were «used». According to the Main Investigations Committee at the Moscow Region Chief Department of Internal Affairs, in 2004 Podmoskovye Government, Serpuknov administration and ООО «RIG» concluded an Investment Contract (No. 249/58-04) for the price of RUR 55.1 million for the building of “Plaza” business centre at Voroshilov Street. Under the Contract’s terms and conditions, 10% of the Contract’s price, i.e. RUR 5.1 million, was to be paid to Serpukhov budget.
The question on what money would the RIGroup headed by Janna Bullock construct the business centre was solved very quickly. The fact is that most of the money for its projects the RIGroup has been long receiving from the Moscow Region Government’s three «daughters» the activities of which was supervised by Bullock’s husband, Minister of Finance Alexei Kuznetsov. And this time as well the money for construction of the RIGroup’s new site was allotted by МОIТК. A corresponding contract was concluded (No. 23-05/05-ID-02), in which the initial stated cost of works increased from RUR 55 million to RUR 286 million.
Soon the cost of the site very mysteriously almost doubled again. RIGroup attracted OOO Rosweb-Office as co-investor, and the latter according to the documents allegedly allotted RUR 200 million for the construction of the business centre. Whether this amount was really used at the construction of «Plaza» or not, is impossible to find out, as the investigators state, because Rosweb-Office also is the RIGroup’s subsidiary and also controlled by Janna Bullock.
|Janna Bullock likes to surround herself with influential people|
In fact, one and the same entity just moved RUR 200 million from one «pocket» to another one, this latter being its own, and declared that the money was spent to build the business centre. Тhus, the total cost of the site now reached RUR 486 million. But the expert assessment conducted at MOITK request by the company, that had certain interests and was controlled by Alexei Kuznetsov, showed that the cost of the business centre did not exceed RUR 323 million.
Bullock’s “Plazas” Might Have Covered All the Moscow Region
On 21st November, 2007 the «Plaza» in Serpukhov was inaugurated. All the town’s authorities were present, including the Head of Administration Pavel Zhdanov, Janna Bullock, аs well as the cultural attache of the US Embassy Jeffrey Sexton. The appearance of the latter was a surprise only for strangers, those who did not know that Bullock was a US citizen. According to those who were present then, the «fathers» of the town kissed Ms Bullock’s hands and offered her to continue to build in the town.
Then more surprise happened. As later Pavel Zhdanov told at interrogations, a working group was created at the Moscow Region Government (him included) in order to implement the programme of «building multifunctional retail centres in Moscow Region» with a possibility to place certain institutions of town administrations in these centres. And the above mentioned working group recommended that these business centres would belong to the municipalities.
|Guests were fed Russian cuisine – caviar, starlet, suckling pigs…|
All Moscow Region officials well understood what business centres were meant here; by that time RIG aside from Serpukhov started its “Plazas” in 15 more towns of the Moscow Region. Pavel Zhdanov was no exception, he decided to acquire the business centre constructed by the RIGroup at Voroshilov Street, for it to become the town property. Serpukhov authorities agreed to pay the amount of RUR 715 million for the site. Where did this figure come from, 13 times exceeding the original project cost envisaged by the contract and almost twice as high as the amount spent by RIGroup and Rosweb-Office in accordance with their own documents. But these are the questions to the investigation and court now.
Pavel Zhsanov himself thus answered the investigating officer’s question, «The price named was formed on the basis of evaluation conducted at the request of OOO RIGroup. The assessment act was produced.” Meaning that the seller itself named the price, and the town administration agreed to it. It seems that if RIGroup had produced the act stating that “Plaza” cost RUR 5 billion, the district authorities would have paid it as well.
700 Million Passed via SIP
However, according to police investigators, it was clear that Serpukhov deputies would not have approved allocation of such funds from local budget, since they knew very well the actual cost of the building. So, a very cunning way was chosen. OJSC “Serpukhov Investment Projects” (SIP) was assigned to conduct the purchase of the business centre, SIP being the 100% subsidiary of the Serpukhov administration. Pavel Zhdanov’s evidence demonstrates how SIP searched for the money to purchase the building.
|Unmarried RIGroup managers and other guests vividly fought for the bride’s stocking garter|
It is interesting that the half a million loan for the state company was taken care of by two businessmen interested in the transaction. Moreover, both these gentlemen were close colleagues of Janna Bullock, and even her former managers. Now they are charged with other budget embezzlement case for the amount of over RUR 1 billion. Kotlyarenko has been arrested recently by Cyprus authorities at the request of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the RF, while Artyom Vasiliev is in Russia with a written pledge not to leave the country.
According to investigators of the Chief Department for Counteracting Economic Crimes at the Ministry of Internal Affairs RF, they discovered what might have happened in reality. SIP loan period for the amount of RUR 500 million had to terminate in December, 2008, and then the Moscow Region budget would have paid. No doubt that the Minister of Finance Alexei Kuznetsov would have approved such expenses. But this was hindered by force majeure.
On 27th July, 2008 promptly left his post and went abroad together with his wife Janna Bullock (now he abides in France, while Bullock in USA). Moscow Region’s Government inherited debts amounting to around RUR 50 billion. Serpukhov «Plaza» was arrested at the claim of the bank that did not receive back the loan money. So the state did not get the building after all.
|Director of Moscow Photography House Olga Sviblova had her time at the wedding|
It is not clear who won in this situation, what is clear is that it was RIGroup. According to police investigators, this company has not invested even a Rouble of its own into the site; it received RUR 286 million from МОIТК, аnd the fact that Risweb-Office invested RUR 200 million into the construction of the business centre is not confirmed. In exchange RIGroup received RUR 715 million from SIP. Even if we deduct RUR 286 million spent by МОIТК and virtual RUR 200 million of Rosweb-Office, net profit amounts to over RUR 200 million. This money went to the accounts of the company that belonged to Janna Bullock, the wife of Minister Kuznetsov.
«Successful American Developer» Turned out Junk Company
«When we started to examine all this story, we were terrified, to put it very mildly,” one of the Ministry of Internal Affairs officer sais. “One of the main developers of the Moscow Region, RIGroup Company positioned itself as the subsidiary of the well known US development company RIGroup, it was headed here by Janna Bullock. However, the check demonstrated that RIGroup has only debts in the USA amounting to USD 27 thousand, and no serious projects in its portfolio. The only advantage of RIG was that Bullock was the wife of the Minister of Finance Kuznetsov».
Officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs RF have recovered many documents at RIGroup, Rosweb-Office, Serpukhov Administration, have interrogated Pavel Zhdanov and other officials that had to deal with the transaction.
|Fisrt Deputy Minister of Finance Moscow Region Valery Nosov (left) shares his worries about the future with the curator of Guggenheim Foundation Nick Ilin. Now Nosov is in jail charged with embezzling RUR 27 billion together with bride’s parents Alexei Kuznetsov and Janna Bullock|
«We have gathered material enough to open several cases: upon embezzlement of government funds during construction of business centre by RIGroup, upon exceeding the authority by officials of all levels who acted in favour of RIGroup and its owner Bullock, upon falsification of documents at “Plaza’s” registration, upon illegal reception of RUR 500 million loan, etc. But the law enforcement mountain could not for a while give birth even to a mouse; the Investigations Committee at the Ministry of Internal Affairs RF started a full-fledged investigation only on 12th February, 2010, i.e. a year and a half after the main organizers of the near-budget financial pyramid in Podmoskovye escaped abroad.
Why Kuznetsov and Bullock Were Safeguarded?
According to police investigators, the Moscow Region investigation authorities did not really want to examine this case. Only one case was open upon Part 4 Art. 159 Criminal Code RF («large scale fraud») on the allocation by МОIТК of RUR 217 million to OJSC SIP. The main Investigations Directorate at the Moscow Region Chief Department of Internal Affairs decided that when SIP took the money in order to purchase the business centre, it had no intention to pay back.
The case was open against «unidentified persons», though all the persons were identified. The materials on Serpukhov Administration officials were singled out into separate proceedings, and these went to the Investigations Directorate at the Prosecutor’s Office, Moscow Region RF. The policemen thought that some actions of Pavel Zhdanov may be subject to Article 293 Criminal Code RF («negligence»).
Under the Contract RIGroup had to transfer 10% of the amount invested into “Plaza” construction to Serpukhov budget. Originally the cost of works was stated as RUR 55 million, and RIGroup paid RUR 5.1 million. But later, as is written in the documents of the same RIGroup, the cost of works increased up to RUR 715 million. Hence, under the Contract the amount of RUR 71.5 million had to be transferred to the budget. According to police investigators, Pavel Zhdanov for unknown reasons did not demand that the company paid the additional money to the local budget. But no case was finally open against the head of Serpukhov administration.
|«End of party» - Janna Bullock and Valery Nosov. Now Nosov claims at investigation that he is not guilty but let down by Kuznetsov and Bullock|
Zhdanov evaded direct questions by investigators as to who else out of RIGroup took part in all these flimsy transactions, he would just say something like, «I cannot explain this or that». Such «short memory» and the unwillingness of investigators «to go deeper» are typical for all cases of corruption in connection with Podmoskovye ex-Minister of Finance.
According to Ministry of Internal Affairs RF officials, Alexei Kuznetsov and Janna Bullock still are on good terms with some officials and law enforcement officers who actually have to be the ones to investigate the frauds with money from the budget. «Why Zhdanov easily and willingly speaks about Kotlyarenko and Vasiliev at interrogations, but never mentions Janna Bullock, is quite clear to us,” police investigators say. “We know that they were closely connected in different spheres».
Тhe fact that many high ranking officials, heads of regions, senators, deputies and law enforcement officers ate out of Kuznetsov-Bullock hands is confirmed by the list of guests at the most expensive wedding in the history of new Russia.
The Most Expensive Wedding in New Russia
In particular, Pavel Zhdanov was one of the esteemed guests. The wedding of Zoe Bullock, daughter of Janna Bullock and Alexei Kuznetsov, took place a month sharp prior to the couple’s escape abroad, on 28th June, 2008. It was celebrated with great pomp and excess in Arkhangelskoye Estate near Moscow (according to witnesses, the bride’s parents spent USD 5 million on the wedding, bringing quite wealthy parents of the bridegroom Towson Remmel – his father, Harmond Remmel id the President of New York bank group Pryor Cashman - into the state of stupor).
|Residents from around Arkhangelskoye Estate were woken and shocked at night – they’ve never seen such magnificent fireworks|
If one looks at the wedding’s guests’ list, it becomes clear why the couple Kuznetsov-Bullock managed to pass the buck one way or other. (VIP guests job positions are given as of the wedding date). The member of the Council of Federation from the Legislative Assembly of the Moscow Region Igor Bryntsalov may be seen at the same table with the bride’s parents, as well as the Governor of Tver Region Dmitri Zelenin, Chairman of Legislative Assembly of Tver Region Andrei Yepishin.
At the next table one can see the head of Serpukhov Pavel Zhdanov, Moscow Region Government Minister of Foreign Economic Relations Tigran Karakhanov, Senior Vice-President VTB Bank Andrei Peregudov, Seniour Vice-President Bank of Moscow Dmitri Akulinin and MTS General Director Vasili Sidorov. Then come Kuznetsov-Bullock empire’s top-managers: General Manager ООО RIGroup Dmitri Kotlyarenko, General manager of IKМО and МОIА Dmitri Demidov, General Manager of State Unitary Enterprise Mosoblgas Dmitri Bolshakov, member of board of Moscow Loan Bank Kamil Narbekov - 250 guests of one or other degree of importance all in all (full list attached below).
Who Covers the Ex-Minister?
The ex-Minister of Finance has necessary connections in uniformed services as well. In particular, according to police investigators, the cases were slowed down until Investigators Committee at the Ministry of Internal Affairs RF interfered, slowed down by two high ranking official from prosecutor’s investigation office with whom Kuznetsov communicated as a suspect in case on bankruptcy and disappearance of the Inkom-Bank customers’ money back in 1998 when he was the Vice-President of the bank. He managed to communicate so successfully that avoided any responsibility at that time, and out of all participants received the biggest lot when Inkom-Bank collapsed.
According to the officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs RF, Alexei Kuznetsov knows the present head of the Investigations Directorate at the Prosecutor’s Office RF Moscow Region, Andrei Markov, as well. It was exactly this Directorate that back in 2009 decided not to examine what role was played by the officials of all levels in the fraud of “Plaza” construction. Аnd when another case was at hand in the Investigations Directorate at the Prosecutor’s Office RF, on embezzlement of RUR 3 billion from budget funds by MOITK top managers, Аndrei Markov repeated to the journalists time and again that the investigators had no claims to Alexei Kuznetsov. Only when the case on RUR 3 billion was taken by the Main Investigations Directorate at the Prosecutor’s Office RF, Kuznetsov was charged with fraud and criminal money laundering, while he himself put on a wanted list.
Аlexei Tikhomirov, Аndrei Ivanov
The guest list and layout of tables with 250 guests at the wedding of the daughter of Janna Bullock (RIGroup President at the time) and her husband Alexei Kuznetsov (Moscow Region Government Minister of Finance at the time). This was the most expensive wedding in the history of new Russia. Minimal evaluation of costs for the party – over USD 5 million, i.t. almost USD 20 thousand per guest. Exactly in a month Alexei Kuznetsov will retire and flee abroad together with his wife.
28th June, 2008, Аrkhangelskoye Estate, Моscow Region, Russia.
|All the guests received valuable gifts on behalf of bride and bridegroom, Corrie Hugh (right), Janna Bullock’s PR-agent was not left behind|
Igor Bryntsalov, Member of the Council of Federation (СF) from Legislative Assembly of Moscow Region, first Deputy of the Chairman of CF Committee on education and science, member of CF Committee on Culture, member of CF Committee on civil society institutions’ development;;
Larisa Bryntsalova, spouse of CF member;
Аlexei Kuznetsov, Moscow Region Government’s Minister of Finance, bride’s step-father; now on international wanted list upon the RUR 3 billion embezzlement case, also is involved in the case on RUR 27 billion embezzlement by Kuznetsov, Bullock, Nosov and Kotlyarenko;
Janna Bullock (nee Zhanna Bullakh), President RIGroup, US citizen, now is involved in the case on RUR 27 billion embezzlement by Kuznetsov, Bullock, Nosov and Kotlyarenko;
Vadim Andronov, Moscow Regional Duma (MOD) Deputy, member of «Unified Russia» faction, member of MOD Committee on budget issues, financial and tax policy,
Аnna Andronova, spouse of MOD Deputy;
Andrei Yepishin, Chairman of the Legislative Assembly Tver Region (ZS ТО), member of ongoing committee on budget and taxes ZS ТО, member of Council of Deputy faction "Unified Russia" in ZS ТО;
Dmitri Zelenin, Governor Tver Region;
Аlla Zelenina, сspouse of Governor Tver Region.
|Visitng card of bride and bridegroom at the most expensive wedding in the history of new Russia|
HYDRANGEA Table (parents and guardians of bridegroom Towson Remmel)
Harmond Remmel, bridegroom’s father, President of New York bank group Pryor Cashman;
Helen Remmel, bridegroom’s mother, spouse of Harmond Remmel;
PEONY Table (bridegeroom Towson Remmel’s relatives and friends)
Remmel Dickinson Tyncoll;
Vladislav Telepnyov, General Director ОJSC «Моscow Regional Investment Trust Company», now is under trial upon RUR 3 billion embezzlement case;
Maria Telepnyova, wife of Vladislav Telepnyov;
Andrei Varfolomeev, General Director ОJSC "Rosweb Telecom Holding Company";
Yelizaveta Varfolomeeva, wife of Andrei Varfolomeev;
Sakharov Sergei, Deputy of Legislative Assembly Vladimirski Region (ZS VО), Chairman of the Committee ZS VО jn economic policy and property, ex-Chairman Regional branch of the Party "Right Forces’ Union";
Vasiliev Artyom, General Director ООО «Rosweb Office», RIGroup subsidiary, winner of TV programme «Know-Alls Boys and Girls», now under trial on over RUR 1 billion embezzlement case;
Vasilieva Yekaterins, wife of Artyom Vasiliev;
DAISY Table (bride and bridegroom table)
Тоусон Реммель (Remmel Towson);
Davis Daniel (American country-style singer);
McArtur Hymar Francis;
Flanagan Katherin & Sarah;
Sviblova Olga, Director, Moscow Photography House;
Каrakhanov Tigran, Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Moscow Region Government;
Каrakhanova Tatiana, wife of the Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Moscow Region Government;
Кukova Tatiana, General Director, Advertising Agency ООО «Моkpolis»;
Lyubimov Andrei, Deputy General Director "PATERO Development" (RC «Golf Babylon»);
Lyubimova Olga, wife of Andrei Lyubimov;
Zarian Phillip, PR Director, RIGroup;
Моrozova Olga, Director “Independent Newspaper” Publishing House;
Cherepanov Pavel, Senior Deputy Manager «Кrasnyi Oktyabr» Factory, commercial director «United Confectioners» Holding;
Cherepanova Svetlana, wife of Pavel Cherepanov
Peregudov Andrei, Senior Vice-President VTB Bank;
Peregudova Lyudmila, wife of Andrei Peregudov;
Sidorov Vasili, MTS General Manager at the time;
Sidorova Victoria, wife of Vasili Sidorov;
Аkulinin Dmitri, Senior Vice-President Bank of Moscow;
Akulinina Natalia, wife of Dmitri Akulinin;
Luchinsk Sergei, son of ex-President of Moldavia Pyotr Luchinski, works in construction business.
Robin Jean Sebastian;
Zhdanov Pavel, Head of Administration, Serpukhov Municipality, is involved in the case on RUR 27 billion embezzlement by Kuznetsov, Bullock, Nosov and Kotlyarenko;
Zhdanova Svetlana, wife of Pavel Zhdanov;
Коshman Alexander and Galina, relatives of Nikolai Koshman, ex-Chairman of Gosstroi of Russia;
Daineko Dmitri, President of the World Cup Stage, Horseback Riding
Daineko Natalia, wife of Dmitri Daineko;
Chliyants Sergei, film producer and director;
Kravets Nina, DJ;
Bugaev Sergei (Аfrica), artist, аrt-dealer.
Chapurin Igor, clothes’ designer;
Dorozhkin Eduard, journalist;
Pavlov-Andreevich Fyodor, аctor, жjournalist;
Demidov Dmitri, General Director IKМО and МОIА, subsidiary mortgage companies of the Moscow Region Government, now under trial on over RUR 1 billion embezzlement case, put on international wanted list. According to mass media was detained on 18th February, 2010, but according to his lawyer Maxim Pashkov, is free again (status on international wanted list).
Demidova Anastasia, wife of Dmitri Demidov;
Zhuk Maria, artist;
HYACINTH Table (bride’s relatives)
Blokhin Alexander Mikhailovich;
Кuznetsova Zoya Petrovna;
Кuznetsova Antonina Ivanovna;
Кuznetsova Yelena Victorovna;
Blokhina Zoya Mikhailovna;
Теreshko Svetlana Vasilievna
Nosov Valery, at that time – First Deputy Minister of Finance Moscow Region (MO) Government, now on trial upon the case on RUR 27 billion embezzlement by Kuznetsov, Bullock, Nosov and Kotlyarenko together with the bride’s parents that hide abroad, Minister of Finance MO Government
Alexei Kuznetsov (is in France) and President of RIGroup Janna Bullock (is in USA);
Nosova Natalia, wife of Valery Nosov;
Hay R.Couri, PR-аgent of Janna Bullock in New York, lover of the famous American artist Warhal Andy, (1928-1987), a well known person in New York high society and bohemian circles;
Preston T.Phillips, architect NYC,
Nick Ilin, curator of Guggenheim Foundation projects in Europe;
Kurieva Mitoucha & Nina;
ROSE (children’s) Table
Кuznetsova Yevgenia, daughter of Janna Bullock and Alexei Kuznetsov, now lives in the USA with her mother;
Belenkyi Boris Petrovich, President People of Culture Association «Мuses of Freedom», incorporator of the superior Moscow theatre award «Crystal Turandot», Vice-President of G.S. Ulanova Foundation;
Belenkaya Galina Alexandrovna, wife of Boris Belenkyi;
Remmel Alexander & Margarita;
Bennet JackBennet Anna, wife of Jack Bennet;
Коtlyarenko Dmitri, General Director ООО RIGroup, now on trial upon the case of over RUR 1 billion embezzlement, put on international wanted list, detained in Cyprus at the request of the General Prosecutor’s office RF on extradition, also is involved in the case on RUR 27 billion embezzlement by Kuznetsov, Bullock, Nosov and Kotlyarenko;.
Bolshakov Dmitri, General Director GUP «Моsoblgas»;
Narbekov Kamil, at that time – member of board of Moscow Loan Bank (controlled by RIGroup);
Narbekova Olga, wife of Kamil Narbekov.