In early summer, the business community received an almost official response to an interesting question: who was behind the forcible takeover of the largest private mobile operator in Russia - "SMARTS". According to the Inspection № 29of the Federal Tax Service (IFTS) of Moscow, financier, or the customer of the operation was one of the largest financial empires – AFK “Sistema”.

It all started with discussions about quite respectable investments in SMARTS by outwardly legitimate rich people. Only in October 2005, performers of the capture - the group "Sigma" and Mr. Pavel Svirsky appeared on the stage, they began an open war for the company. "SIGMA" and Svirsky had already been spotted in the capture operations.

At the same time raiders did not hide their intentions anyhow. Mr. Svirsky publicly subsumed some philosophical base under the aggressive actions; he positioned himself as "a forest attendant”. But, when following the order to seize SMARTS, Svirsky suddenly amassed serious problems. The main shareholder Gennady Kiryushin began to defend it fiercely.

In spring 2010, AFK “Sistema” openly intervened in the struggle for shares of SMARTS between Gennady Kiryushin and “Sigma Capital Partners” (SCP). According to CNews, they claimed in "Sistema" that in 2006, the SCP laid the right to 32% of the shares of SMARTS in the Moscow Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), belonging to the "Sistema". Two years later "Sistema" purchased these rights within the failed deal of the acquisition of SMARTS for MTS (it is owned by "Sistema"). When "Sistema" laid claim to the shares of SMARTS, SCP and Kiryushin had already signed the settlement agreement and were preparing to sell SMARTS tp the holding company Svyazinvest.

In fact, as "Vedomosti" wrote, "Sistema" started attacking SMARTS in December 2005. This follows from the decision of the Federal Tax Service Inspectorate № 29 (IFTS) of Moscow on the involvement of "Sigma" to account for tax violation (copy document is attached (PDF, 2.23 MB).

When “Sigma Capital Partners” (SCP) outbid claims on credit for $ 56.3 million from Vnesheconombank (VEB), to which Kiryushin laid 32% of SMARTS, the tax office became interested in sources of such funds of SCP. The inspection explored the origins of large funds - 1.677 billion rubles (SCP bought Kiryushin’s debt for VEB for that money on Dec. 14, 2005), and found that the company had earned them easily and quickly – just a week before! One can envy such efficiency!

If you delve into the details, it turns out that SCP received the funds from "Sistema" through a few groups of intermediaries. "Sistema" had been fouling the trail of its activities thoroughly. On December 1, 2005 Bank IBRD controlled by AFK “Sistema” issued loans amounting to 1.73 billion rubles to three OOO - "Malachite", "Leader-M" and "Imperial". Those transferred the money to three other firms - for the purchase of bills of the bank Uralsib. "Sigma" filed those bills on to maturity on December, 7. Most of the funds (1.68 billion rubles, or $ 57.84 million) were sent to redeem the rights of claims by Vnesheconombank to Kiryushin. November 22, 2006 "Malachite", "Leader-M" and "Imperial" received 1,8 billion rubles from AFK “Sistema” through ZAO “Sistema invenchur" (chairman of its board of directors is the Vice-President of Sistema, Ruslan Almakaev) and ZAO" Sistemny Project” (subsidiary of "Sistema") to repay the loans to IBRD, by the decision of IFTS № 29.

The deal with bills of Uralsib did not effect its members anyhow: in 2005, "Malachite", "Leader-M", "Imperial" and three companies acquired those bills, incurred a loss, deputy head of IFTS № 29 Shvetsova E. notes. She resumes that the real purpose of operations with the bills was "the creation of financial schemes of the deal on a treaty of cession which was concluded between the SCP and Vneshekonombank.

As it often happens, the wily eventually has outwitted himself. Due to the absence of any other financial activity, except for transactions with the bills of Uralsib, and due to the absence of profits from those operations, tax inspectorate ruled that OOO "Malachite", "Leader-M", "Imperial" and three other companies which acquired the bills are the firms-by-night; they had been receiving and repaying loans through the structures of AFK “Sistema”, and had been created exclusively for financing the SCP. IFTS accused SCP of understatement of tax base at $ 1.645 billion rubles. (SCP itself declared in 2005 a loss of $ 20 million rubles.), and required the Company to pay tax on profits of 395 million rubles! "Sigma" challenged the claims of IFTS № 29 – the case is in the court of cassation, the prospects for the SCP are quite sad.

There is even more interesting point in this case. Based on the documents, it turns out that all the dirty work conducted in 2005 during the attack of SMARTS - illegal arrests of shares, attempts to withdraw register of shareholders, unjust court decisions, the attempt to prosecute the main shareholder –was done not by dirty "Sigma" as a whole (it had become clear long time ago), but by the flagship of the Russian economy – AFK “Sistema”!