U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) examined the business of German automobile concern Daimler at least four years - from 2004 to 2008. During this time they managed to gather sufficient information supporting the worldwide bribe taking by Daimler. The materials were transferred to the District Court in Washington, the defendants were the carmaker itself and its representative in Russia; they pleaded guilty - for years they have been paying bribes to officials in return for large government contracts. The total amount of bribes spent around the world exceeded 56 million dollars, much of which had been spent in Russia.
Federal Judge Richard Leon of the United States decided: Once there were no American officials among the bribe takers, and Daimler pleaded guilty and was willing to pay 185 million dollars to the budget of U.S., no further search of the perpetrators was necessary. Such a solution satisfied all the parties.
Let us recall the scheme of bribe payments. The money from the accounts of the parent company or its subsidiaries were transferred to firms-by-night - from the U.S. and Costa Rica to the British Virgin Islands. The accounts of many "garbage" companies owned by Russian officials were in the Bank of Latvia and the State of Delaware, where they were apparently cashed. The curious thing is that today the scheme is nearly the same in another high-profile investigation that was initiated by the police of Germany. The largest producer of computer equipment - Hewlett-Packard (HP) was suspected of giving multimillion-dollar bribes to officials of the Russian General Prosecutor's Office. German investigators believe that like in the case of Daimler the fee had been paid in return for the large government contracts.
Usually, the bribe was economically beneficial, as a supplier inflated prices for the goods, a contract was concluded, and a bribetaker simply subtracted the difference from the real and inflated value. Experts of "Novaya Gazeta" believe: those European companies which pay bribes, do not work according to this scheme. In both cases they dealt with very large shipments, which are usually done with wholesale discount. Apparently, Daimler and HP did not do the discount, but listed it to officials at the offshore companies.
We examined the state contracts of six Russian authorities (Ministry of Internal Affairs, FSB, FSO, UPC, the General Prosecutor's Office and the Office of Presidential Affairs), and were surprised to discover that perhaps 90 percent of all deliveries of expensive Mercedes cars was carried out by the same group of companies: "New York Motors Moscow "," Panavto", and "Avilon». They all have the same owners.
"Avilon" is an official dealer of «Mercedes-Benz RUS ". The company "New York Motors Moscow" is the dealer of Ford, but this does not stop it from entering into large contracts to supply Mercedes cars. Forbes magazine has included "New York Motors Moscow" into its list of top 200 private companies in Russia. According to the database SKRIN, the founder of one of the major suppliers of "Mercedes" for special services is the company New York Motors Corp, incorporated in the State of New Jersey. American business registers show that one of the owners of the company is Alexander Varshavsky.
Forbes reported that the Varshavsky got settled in America long time ago, retired and handed over the car business to Andrei Pavlovich, the head of «Avilon» and "Panavto». Pavlovich did not respond to the official request by "Novaya Gazeta" and did not confirm to us whether Varshavsky had no longer had any relation to the suppliers of "Mercedes" for the Russian state authorities.
The whole deliveries for the fleet of the Russian secret services and government agencies are made by a fairly small group of companies, which has been winning competitions for many years. Perhaps the biggest supplier is "Military-Industrial Company». The company was founded in 2006 and is a member of the holding company «Russian Machines», owned by Oleg Deripaska. "Military-Industrial Company» operates several factories- producers of military equipment. The main consumers of this technology are the Russian secret services: Ministry of Internal Affairs, FSB, FSO, Federal Drug Control Service. Despite its youth, "Military-Industrial Company" has signed at least 360 government contracts to approximately 17 billion rubles in the past three years. Considering the sum earned from the state budget by Oleg Deripaska, it is clear that that 7 billion investment in the construction of Imereti port for the Olympics made by «Basic Element"-is not too onerous social burden for the businessman close to authorities.
"New York Motors Moscow" is a "favorite" supplier for the Federal Security Service of Russia, the FSB. Expensive machines for FSO are supplied by a group of companies "Nezavisimost" as well. It includes the company "Auto Ganza", "AA Nezavisimost Premier Auto" and "ACM", which are dealers of Volvo, Volkswagen and Audi. They recently earned about 155 million rubles from the FSO. 50.05% shares of "Nezavisimost" belongs to businessman Roman Tchaikovsky, and the rest, as reported by Kommersant, was bought in 2008 by the structures close to Alfa Group, which co-owner is Mikhail Fridman.
The largest supplier of machines for the FSB is "Military-Industrial Company» by Oleg Deripaska. It has received 76 contracts for 1.8 billion
The Interior Ministry, the General Prosecutor's Office, the Investigation Committee systematically use services from «New York Motors Moscow "and "Military-Industrial Company".
Advisor to the Administrative Department of President, Viktor Khrekov told that the largest supplier of automotive technology is the company BMW Russland Trading, which official dealer is ZAO “Azimut SP», it was a winner of the competitions. Other clients of Azimut SP are as follows: FSB, FSO, Federal Drug Control Service.
In December 2009, some metropolitan newspapers received a letter from Alexander Kolobkov, former CEO of «F and Sea Trading», one of the first dealers of Ford in Russia. Kolobkov told that he had tried everything to protect his business and, therefore, appealed to journalists for help. In the mid 90's he employed Konstantin Pogorelov, who had resigned, according to Kolobkov, the rank of lieutenant-general of the Ministry of Defence. Then, according to Kolobkov, General began to threaten him, in 1995 he was kidnapped and beaten, then forced to leave the country and, finally, took over his business. Konstantin Pogorelov and his son - Alexander - later established the company "Azimuth SP" and "Avtopassazh", which is also winning numerous competitions today. Kolobkov told that Konstantin Pogorelov forced him to resign the post of general director, appointed the son of his colleague Sergey Kvashnin to the post instead .