The main theme of core resources, fixed by Rumafia analyst, is the appointment of Andrey Vorobyov acting Governor of the Moscow Region. In recent days, the theme has even become to prevail over the scandal at the Ministry of Defense, where a kind of an information pause was taken at idle speed in anticipation of events. But instead, the scandal in the Ministry of Agriculture, nearly died down, has been suddenly remembered. But even with this background, some important economic news wasn’t missed – it is upcoming sale of a large stake in Sovcomflot.
Friendship between families
Special attention is paid to the closeness of Vorobyev to Sergey Shoigu, which became the guarantee for the family success. The Vorobyevs never concealed the fact.
At the end of the 1980s, the present Defence Minister of the RF and Yuriy Vorobyov (Andrey Vorobyov’s father) were sitting in the neighboring offices of the Krasnoyarsk regional Committee of the CPSU. Together they founded the Rescue Corps. Unill 2007, Vorobyev-senior held the post of the First Deputy Head of the EMERCOM. And he also was the head of several interdepartmental committees. In 2008, having reached the resigning age, he was appointed a representative of the Vologda region in the Federation Council.
Thus, the conclusion is very clear: the fast interruption of Shoigu’s being the governor in the Moscow region (provoked by a corruption force-majeure in the Defence Ministry) doesn’t mean him losing the political control on the Moscow region. The ex-manager of the State Duma the United Russia fraction, to put it in a metaphorical way, can be seen on his new post as “Sergey Shoigu’s proconsul”.
But Shoigu is not the only relationship of the Vorobyevs. The media pay equal attention to a special nature of the relationship of the family with Valentina Matvienko and her son Sergey. It is claimed that the meeting at Shoigu, where the question of a successor on the post of governor of the Moscow region was discussed, was attended by the Chairman of the Federation Council. When listing businesses structures of the Vorobyevs, there is Razdor Siti LLC which stands out significantly. Its co-founder, along with Artem Vorobiev (a nephew of Andrey Vorobiev) is Sergey Matvienko. Let's note that the name of Artem Vorobiev is known in specific Petersburg circles - he is considered a member of the same “gold party” as Sergey Matvienko.
A great wave of publications on this theme is not only connected with objective administrative and political importance of the governorship of the Moscow region.
A group of prominent politicians and businessmen, affiliated with the law enforcement bodies and special services, would prefer to see on this post quite a different figure, not associated with Shoigu and Matviyenko. In particular, the appointment of Vorobyov was not adequately coordinated with the FSB. The position of the Prosecutor General's office was not taken into account as well. It seems that in the future it is possible to publish a series of compromising materials, studying the “family business” of the Vorobyovs in details and analyzing the level of criminality.
Auto-suitcases in state security
The information support for the investigation on the Ministry of Defense continues. From the plentiful wordiness, it is necessary to allocate the refusal of Ekaterina Smetanova (at the moment, the main person involved in the case on Oboronservis) to testify.
The position assumed by Smetanova forces to raise so-called “parachute themes” - not directly but incidentally compromising Anatoly Serdyukov.
It was concerned with the sad fate of the museum of auto-rarities in Ryazan, disbanded in 2010 on the personal instructions of the former Defense Minister.
The most valuable exhibits were removed in tow trucks to Moscow car pools.
The staff of FSB is engaged in business (we don’t know how the presence or absence of retro-autos in the Ryazan museum is related to national security of the Russian Federation). The director of the 147th transportation motor pool assures that all of the transported cars are in safe custody there. But some authors of the publications consider the results of the home search at the head of the Property Department of the Ministry of Defense Evgenia Vasilyeva as the proof of the theft. Though, they didn’t find the automobiles there. However, they did find much jewelry and very expensive suitcases.
It can be assumed that something like a time-out is taken in the information section of the fight against corruption in the military department (otherwise it is difficult to explain these “suitcases of cars”). Apparently, the pause is taken in anticipation of the real results of the investigation and - above all –final determination of the position of the highest federal authority in respect of Anatoly Serdyukov.
A series of publications on the already partially forgotten case on the former Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation Elena Skrynnik became a surprise. In May, many media publications reported on the initiation of the criminal cases involving Skrynnik personally, her brother, Rosagrolizing as a structure, and a group of businessmen from the Lipetsk region. It was about a complex scheme of financial fraud and embezzlement in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rosagrolizing. But even in June, this theme at once left the information space.
Now it resumed. There is a retelling of old materials going on but with one very significant addition: they provide some documents on which it can be argued that Elena Skrynnik went abroad for treatment and is not going to come back. Her corresponding statement was signed by Vladimir Putin.
The case is conducted by the Main Directorate of Economic Security and Counteraction to Corruption of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia. But it is unclear to all commentators, why this Directorate should even indirectly conflict with the President, what the deep plan is. Perhaps we'll find out soon.
Privatization in circle of state companies
And last, but not least. The information on assessment of the government stake (25% + 1 share) in Sovcomflot JSC is published and analyzed. The assessment was carried out by experts of Deutsche Bank which was associated with Gennady Timchenko long ago. Compared with the government of the Russian Federation, the German bank has significantly reduced the cost: 15-18 billion rubles, although the government planned to sell the stake for 25-27 billion rubles.
The Sovcomflot, belonging to the state, is one of the largest customers of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (the USC). The Board of Directors of the USC state-owned company is headed by the metallurgical magnate Vladimir Lisin; the board includes the head of the state Rostechnologii Corporation Sergey Chemezov. In October 2012, the Sovcomflot signed an agreement on construction of four ice-class vessels in the shipyards of the USC for maintenance of the Sakhalin-2 project. Earlier, an agreement on two seismic survey vessels was signed. The entire volume of contracted shipbuilding investment of the Sovcomflot is estimated at about $ 1.6 billion.
For placement of so large package, the current market situation looks extremely unfavorable. For example, on November 15, the bankruptcy petition was filed by the largest U.S. oil tanker operator Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. There are no strategic investors observed. Expect for the United Shipbuilding Corporation (The estimated value of shares is half the sum of contracts of the Sovcomflot with the USC.)
The transaction is supervised by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, the head of the government privatization direction. According to him, the Sovcomflot is included in the privatization plan for 2013. However, the Deputy Prime Minister added that the public placement of IPO comes in the spring, that is, quite quickly and secretly.
Until 2002, Vorobiev was the owner and CEO of the Russian Sea JSC, as well as one of the founders of the group of companies with the same name - one of the largest retailers of fish and seafood in Russia. At the market, the Russian Sea can be for sure referred to as the property of the Vorobievs family, that is - of the two brothers and their father.
Source: Kommersant, May 15, 2007
On the eve of the Christmas holidays in 2009, there were rumors that an unofficial order allegedly came from the White House that it would unwelcomed for officials to be seen at the elite Alpine resorts. However, officials still took holidays there but reacted nervously if there was special attention to them. It seemed that the statesmen with pleasure would go to restaurants in ski helmets and masks as well. As for the Head of the CEC of the United Russia Andrey Vorobyov, as soon as he realized that he had been recognized, he tried to hide.
Source: Vokrug novostey, January 11, 2009
The February of 2009 turned out to be extremely hot for Vorobyov. A month before the election of the Mayor of Murmansk, there was a disagreement in the party ranks: Governor Yury Yevdokimov refused to support a party creature of Mikhail Savchenko and took the side of non-party Sergey Subbotin, who then eventually won the second round. “For such actions, we will exclude members of the party from our ranks without regret”, Vorobyov, supported by the Kremlin curator of the regional elections Vladislav Surkov, threatened the governor. Evdokimov wrote a letter of voluntary resignation from his post of Governor, and Dmitry Medvedev accepted it. The Kremlin did not hide the fact that the decision of the President had been influenced by the situation with the election.
Source: SmartMoney, April 27, 2009
An elite matchmaker Olga Slutsker had a particularly close relationship with Andrey Vorobiev. It was no secret to inhabitants of the State Duma that he actively offered “stars” supplied by Olga to the “fathers of the nation”, including immediate environment of the Premier and the President. It gave the effect – the career of Vorobyov was developing rapidly.
Under Andrey Vorobyov’s guidance, Mrs. Slutsker entered the United Russia, received the proper number of votes at the party primaries of candidates to the State Duma and became coordinator of all the sports program of the party of power.
Moreover, the World Class won a contract on retraining of teachers of physical education to fitness and aerobics. In addition, the Glavstroy SPB company, owned by Slutsker together with Maxim Vorobiev and Oleg Deripaska, turned the city of Petersburg literally upside down. The owners together with its affiliated companies built 462 parking lots, renovated 22 neighborhoods, built theTheatre of Alla Pugacheva, and reequipped Apraksin Dvor in St. Petersburg.
Source: Ruspres, September 9, 2011
Vorobyev is famous in the city for numerous scandals - from a vulgar skyscraper of the name of Alla Pugacheva, caused the rage of the citizens, to the failure of the project on reconstruction of slums between Shkapin and Rosenstein streets, where after bandit raids and cleaning-up the area from competitors, nothing has been seen but wastelands and ruins.
Source: Ruspres, October 20, 2011
After Vorobyov had failed the elections of his own party and was fired, friends of the retiree around President Medvedev firmly employed him to head the United Russia faction in the State Duma.
Vorobyev's family has long specialized in the capitalization of state decisions. Possessing insider information and right connections, these people sell officials’ signatures, right up to the Head of the Russian Federation - the state policy turns into personal money through simple machinations. One of the latest events of this kind was the recent resignation of the governor of Primorye Territory Sergey Darkin.
The Russian Sea group controlled by Vorobiev bought assets of Darkin’s wife -Nakhodkinskaya baza aktivnogo morskogo rybolovstva JSC (Nakhodka Active Marine Fishery Base). It is a question of $250-300 million. “It’s very likely that there haven’t been transactions of such magnitude yet”, a source close to the Russian Sea shareholders says.
Source: Ruspres, February 29, 2012
On August 1991 Shoigu actively supported Boris Yeltsin and was later awardedDefender of Free Russia medal. Thus, Shoigu disagreed with his patron Oleg Shenin who assisted him in taking high positions at Krasnoyarsk Communist party office. In 1993, during a confrontation with the Supreme Soviet, Yeltsin relied on Shoigu once again. On the night of October 4 at the request of Yegor Gaidar Shoigu's agency was allowed to distribute arms between its officers.
Source: Polit.ru, 28 September, 1999
In 1996 and 1999-2000 Shoigu took an active part in the election campaigns. In 1996 he was commended by Yeltsin for "arrangement and conduct of the presidential election campaign." He also supervised presidential campaign in the regions of the Russian Federation. In 1999 he headed Υedinstvo (Unity), the newly formed inter-regional movement, which managed to get 23.32 percent of votes at parliamentary elections and was second only to the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. The success of the movement made Vladimir Putin's task easier, as Shoigu supported him outright during the presidential election.
Source: Gazeta.Ru, 31 August, 2003
Yeltsin trusted Shoigu so much that he charged him with the most sensitive missions far from rescue issues. For instance, on 8 October 1998 in Tripoli Shoigu discussed with Qaddafi and Badri, the Minister of Petroleum and Energy of Libya, business schemes that allowed to evade international sanctions that were set by UN Security Council against Libya. Presumably, Russian oil lobby in the person Berezovsky and Abramovich was behind the negotiations.
Source: Flb.ru, 28 January, 2000
By the end of the 90-s Shoigu managed to build up ''Emergency Management empire'' that had more generals and funds than the Ministry of Defence. In order to"secure the existing constitutional order", Special Forces rescue corps were staffed with former employees of Alpha and Vympel elite military units as well as with special mission units of the General Staff of the Main Intelligence Directorate. MES armed units numbered about one million people.
All the money aimed at reduction of the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster and elimination of nature disasters were paid into acccounts of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
MES was fantastically wealthy department since it was also given a right to be engaged in business. The Ministry owned large commercial organization - EMERCOMagency. MES also took part in gambling business- it was one of the co-founders ofBingo lottery. Shoigu himself built a palace at Rublevskoye highway that cost him 6.8 million dollars.
Source: Versiya, 28 August, 2001
While being a government member, Shoigu showed himself an extremely cautious and tolerant politician. He pointedly distanced his department from politics and kept the right to political activity only for himself. Shoigu was reported to take an advantageous position, as he took the responsibility not for disaster prevention, but for elimination of the consequences and restoration of the ruined places: he preferred to supervise rescue operations personally, publicly accused local officials of negligence and took personal responsibility for eliminating the consequences of disasters. Thus, through constant demonstration of his efficiency, he gained political credibility, as well as worthy funding and permission to absorb allied organizations.
Source: Kommersant-Vlast, 27 February, 2006
In summer 2010 Shoigu, who oversaw the extinguishing of forest conflagrations, estimated the fire damage at about 12 billion rubles, including the costs on rebuilding houses of fire victims, but independent experts say the overall damage could make over 450 billion rubles. Shoigu and MES were criticized by journalists for poor equipment and unpreparedness for large-scale natural disasters. Shoigu himself stated that the MES was not responsible for extinguishing or fire prevention according to the Forest Code, as the department was not mentioned in the law. So he partially lay the blame on the Federal Forestry Agency that was tardy to let him know that the situation was getting out of control.
Source: RBC, 19August, 2010; Nakanune, 20 August, 2010
Mikhail Prokhorov, one of the richest Russian businessmen, will be the first in the election list of Pravoye Delo political party to participate in State Duma elections representing the Krasnoyarsk region. Prokhorov is not alien to the region: he has actively developed his business there, namely Norilsk Nickel company, and he is one of the major taxpayers in the region. In response, Edinaya Rossiya, the governing party, proposed a strong competitor for Prokhorov – the party of crooks and thieves (c). In the Krasnoyarsk region Edinaya Rossiya will be represented by Minister of Emergency Situations Sergey Shoigu. Shoigu said he considered that region as his home and displayed excellent knowledge of the region problems. Blogging community was unanimous in reaction to the report on it: Apparently, Edinaya Rossiya is rather afraid of Prokhorov's popularity in Krasnoyarsk since it putforward a heavyweight against him.
Sources: Zet-News.ru, 12.09.2011
According to journalists, studying Main Internal Affairs Directorate's summary for July 13, 1994 one may find a message about Ms Rozhkova reference to Smolniy chief administration of internal affairs with claim that from 8 to 8.30 pm. two unknown criminals burst into her apartment and threatening her and her son, Rozhkov A.N., stole some valuable things, including garnet necklace and other valuables. Criminal proceeding was instituted under that fact by the article 145 of RF Criminal Code (robbery).
Already on July16, 1994 Murin Eugeniy Igorevich and Matvienko Sergey Vladimirovich were arrested by Criminal investigation department. Charge was brought against arrested and stolen by them property was partly confiscated. Though, Matvienko was imprisoned less than three days. It should be noted that he admitted his fault at once and the rest of the days waited for his mother’s help. On July 18 th Valentina Matvienko came from Malta where she worked as an ambassador in those years. As a result, recognizance not to leave was chosen the preventive punishment for Sergey Matvienko while his partner in crime remained in preventive-detention cell.
In the course of investigation it turned out that Murin and Matvienko saw the suffered Rozhkov not for the first time. On May 10 th of the same year Rozhkov was beat by them and other three young men, after that got to hospital with injuries. It should be noted that afterwards Sergey Matvienko got the alibi that he stood with his mother in Malta that time. Therefore, irrespective the earlier established facts, he could not beat Rozhkov.
Murin and Matvienko were going to Rozhkov, on their way they got the next potential extortion victim – Murin’s classmate Lipgard. They intended to “drain” him later. According to witnesses’ and victim’s testimony, Matvienko beat Rozhkov and, to frighten, attempted to strangle him.
Rozhkov’s grandmother let the arrived group in. On the way the amount of debt for some reason increased to 80 000, Murin and Matvienko in a free and easy manner became to take away property against “debt”. Considerable amount of books were packed in bags, some valuables including the garnet necklace at the cost of 60 000 rubles. Perhaps, they decided that the item would be of interest for book lovers preferring Kuprin. They took calculator “Electronika”, hair drier and even a drawing set.
The result was the criminal case №187898, proceeded by the senior investigator of the 3-rd department of St Petersburg Chief administration of internal affairs investigation unit, justice lieutenant-colonel Zhukova. Murin’s and Matvienko’s fault of robbery and infliction of a bodily harm was established by investigation.
Murin Eugeniy Igorevich, born 1974, didn’t have powerful parents, therefore he got soon to jail. Matvienko Sergey Vladimirovich, born 1973, working at the moment of arrest as a manager in check investment fund “Augusta”, registered at the address: Tverskaya street, 15-65, partly admitted his fault, but accused Murin of the crime organization. I.e., bluntly speaking, put the blame on his partner in crime, expecting mother’s support. And the support came – investigator Zhukova spared the son, deprived of a worthy upbringing because of the mother’s permanent absence, and Sergey Matvienko’s crime was temporarily forgot. Those facts were made public only in 2005.
Source: www.pdvdnk from 17.05.2005
Initially mass media displayed interest in the son of Petersburg governor owing to the facts of using by Valentina Matvienko her administrative resources in assisting her son’s wealth and career development.
First publications about Sergey Matvienko touched upon his connections with bank “Saint Petersburg”. Journalists noted that Valentina Matvienko, Alexander Savelyev and Victor Krotov were tied in the beginning of 1990 by joint business. All three managed the company CJSC “Komavtoservice”, specialized on freight forwarding and trading.
In 2003 journalists stated the fact of owning by Sergey Matvienko shares in bank “Saint Petersburg”. Besides, in May 2003 Sergey Matvienko took the post of Vice President in the bank. In general, big mass media began to write about Matvienko in 2003 in regard St Petersburg governor elections, where one of the candidates was Valentina Matvienko, taking that time the post of RF President’s authorized representative in North-West Federal region. Nobody doubted her to win the elections whereupon journalists began to attend her and her son.
Source: Newspaper "Kommersant-SPb" № 160 (2763) from 05.09.2003
It was not accidental that bank “Saint Petersburg” began to rapidly grow in St Petersburg financial area than. For example, newspapers wrote that bank “Saint Petersburg”, that was planning an extensive promotion of Visa plastic cards, got an exclusive access to clients’ database of St Petersburg subway. It was intended to combine own cards with subway smart cards. However two years before “Saint Petersburg” was facing the exclusion from Visa system for the reason of poor technical facilities. Allocating more than $1 million to the new processing center and programming facilities the bank stated of it’s serious struggle for market. The Vice President of “Saint Petersburg” bank’s new technologies became Sergey Matvienko.
Source: Newspaper "Kommersant-SPb" № 165 (2768) from 12.09.2003
In regard to the appointment in December 2003 Alexander Kadirov, the Headman of Information agency “Rosbalt”, to the position of City center advertisement director, journalists paid attention to informal relations between Sergey Matvienko and well-known St Petersburg’s businessman, promoter and owner of some music radio stations, Eugeniy Finkelshtein, whose candidacy Matvienko lobbied to the position of City center advertisement director. Finkelshtein, however, stated that he was a “businessman but not a civil officer”, confirming that his candidacy was really discussed with the governor.
Source: Newspaper "Kommersant-SPb" № 233 (2836) from 23.12.2003
In April 2004 Sergey Matvienko married a singer Zara (Zariya Mgoyan). It was informed that the singer was christened to orthodoxy before in one of small churches in outlying district of St Petersburg and got the name Zlata. The marriage, however, didn’t last for long. To become free Sergey had to pay Zara half million dollars.
Sources: Newspaper "Kommersant-SPb" № 75/П (2914) from 26.04.2004, «Zhizn» from 23.06.2006
Sergey Matvienko was mentioned in regard with the deficit of drugs in St Petersburg since the middle of 2000. According to printed media it was not accidentally that the regional license for purchasing and distribution of drugs went to a company “Empire Pharma”. It happened, supposedly, after 25 % of the company went to Matvienko in December of the previous year. Some spiteful critics were even sure that the major holding of stock was given to Mr. Matvienko as a present. Matvienko’s partner in pharmaceutical business was the headman of “Empire Pharma” Omar Gurtskaya.
Source: «МK v Pitere» from 10.02.2005
Later it came up that the Vice President of bank “Saint Petersburg” Sergey Matvienko was preparing to transfer to VneshTorgBank (VTB). Thereby, VTB, preparing than to move to St Petersburg, did everything to guarantee warm meeting with local authorities.
According to journalists, taking into account VTB plans to move to St Petersburg, to purchase Promstroybank (SPb) and retailing business in the North-West of Russia, such transfer looked logical. VTB, undoubtedly, would need a specialist, leading IT in bank “Saint Petersburg” and being governor’s close relative at that.
In October 2005 the headman of VneshTorgBank Andrey Kostin officially stated about finalizing of re-registration of his credit and financial organization in St Petersburg.
It was additionally reported that after transfer to VTB Sergey Matvienko, in all probability, would remain the owner of bank “Saint Petersburg” stock (he owned that moment 7,69% of shares, according to other information sources - 11,04%).
Sources: Newspaper «Kommersant» № 209/В (3048) from 09.11.2004, Magazine «Money» № 13 (518) from 04.04.2005, "Kommersant-SPb" № 194 (3278) from 14.10.2005
Later bank “Saint Petersburg” announced about changes in the board of directors. As journalists predicted, structures, controlled by well-known Petersburg banker Vladimir Kogan, sold 35% of bank shares. According to official version, after completing all legal procedures, 51 % of bank shares would be concentrated in hands of it’s top managers. However, local financial experts considered governor’s son, Sergey Matvienko, the key shareholder of the bank.
Source: Newspaper "Kommersant-SPb" № 177 (3261) from 21.09.2005
In June 2006 it came up that Sergey Matvienko bought a beautiful island with the area of 10 hectares nearby the Pirita river together with Lukoil Eesti CEO Eugeniy Bolshakov and co-owner of Russian bank OJSC “Saint Petersburg” Alexander Savelyev. It was supposed that established by him company “SMB Invest” would construct on the island, located not far from farmstead Lagedi, eight houses for authoritative Russian businessmen. The second step in “SMB Invest” activity was supposed to be opening of helicopter line between St Petersburg and Tallinn.
Source: Newspaper "Kommersant-SPb" № 111 (3442) from 22.06.2006
Then the journalists paid attention to Sergey Matvienko in regard that he took the position of “VTB-Capital” Head and began to manage such VTB real estate projects in St. Petersburg as “Embankment of Europe” at the cost of about $250 million and “Nevsky town hall” at the cost of about $200 million.
Source: Newspaper "Kommersant-SPb" № 204 (3535) from 31.10.2006
In spring 2007 in St Petersburg took place a serious scandal with participation of Finnish company “Container Finance”, which owned «Mobi Dick» Ltd, operating the biggest container terminal in St Petersburg sea port, and Vladimir Kogan. In a fact “Mobi Dick” representatives accused Vladimir Kogan of an attempt to take away a plot of land from Finnish businessmen, where they were planning to construct additional terminal, and give it to well-known criminal Vladimir Barsukov. Kogan was one of RF Rosstroy managers then and motivated his actions by technological reasons: the plot hampers the construction of defensive facilities supervised by Rosstroy.
"Mobi Dick" rented a site on Kotlin island in St Petersburg since 2003. In autumn 2006 under pressure of St Petersburg Committee of state property administration “Mobi Dick” management had to sign additional agreement to the rent agreement for transferring the territory to Rosstroy for two years, to take it back afterwards.
According to official version, the plot was necessary to Rosstroy for dike construction. Valentina Matvienko guaranteed to permit Finns to return to the territory in two years. However signing the agreement with the city finns doubted they would be let back in two years.
Source: www.newsru.com 18.05.2007
In connection with that conflict journalists paid attention to the relations between Sergey Matvienko and Barsukov. For example, they wrote that from hearsay Barsukov had a serious conflict with St Petersburg governor. The reason of conflict was, supposedly, quarrel with Sergey Matvienko.
Printed media wrote that most members of St Petersburg’s beau monde became witnesses of unexpected meeting of two powerful St Petersburg businessmen, Sergey Matvienko and Vladimir Kumarin, in one of the biggest St Petersburg casinos, where a joint project was discussed. Matvienko offered to forget past disagreements inviting Kumarin to participate in ferry complex project. Tambov criminal group member was asked for force support. Solution of problems with authorities the official’s son took upon himself… Vladimir Kumarin, according to printed media, refused to participate in that doubtful project.
Source: «Vslukh.Ru» from 18.05.2007
In spring 2007, Sergey Matvienko stated of leaving the elite cottage settlement construction project in Estonia, supposedly, for political reasons, considering the transfer of Bronze soldier in Tallinn a personal insult.
Source: Newspaper «Kommersant» № 90 (3666) from 26.05.2007
In connection with that journalists reported that from the very beginning the message about intentions of St Petersburg governor’s son, Sergey Matvienko, with partners to buy an island in Estonia brought the Republic citizens to study geography of native land. It was considered by then that the island was piece of land in the middle of water, for example, sea or lake. What island could be in J?el?htme waterless area?
It clarified later that the small Pirita river in Nothern Estonia nearby Lagedi was divided in two branches, flowing together at a distance of half kilometer. The belt of land between them with the width about 200 meters was that mysterious island, which, according to it’s owners’ investment plans, would become soon the residence of some very powerful Russian men, who would every morning get to St Petersburg from the island by helicopter.
It became knows soon that “Matvienko’s island” were still in natural look, and plans to establish Russian Rublevka in Estonia could not move forward from the table of local elder.
Therefore, when after the occasion with transfer of Bronze soldier Sergey Matvienko stated that he refused to participate in that project in protest at the actions of Estonian authorities, it was reasonable from the investment point of view. Was it worth spending time and money for the slipping project especially when there were possibility to exit effectively unpromising game?
In addition to that, according to capital issues register, there had been an off-exchange deal in May with SMB Invest AS shares — company, owning the island, after that number of owners reduced from three to two. It was not hard to guess, what was behind that: Sergey Matvienko sold his stock of 46 % to another co-owner – chairman of bank “Saint Petersburg” board, Alexander Savelyev, whose stock amounted after that to 92 %. The rest 8 % belonged to working in Lukoil Estonian department Eugeniy Bolshakov. So the island remained in hands of Russians but from “Matvienko’s island” it turned to “Savelyev’s island”.
Sources: Application to newspaper "Kommersant" № 106 (3682) from 21.06.2007, «Kommersant» № 90 (3666) from 26.05.2007
Later journalists remembered about Sergey Matvienko in connection with the next huge developer project, where, according to journalists, Matvienko acted as lobbyist. It was talked that the United industrial corporation of Sergey Pugachev found investor for termination of one of the biggest in Russia shipbuilding yard – St Petersburg Baltic plant (Baltiysky zavod). It was supposed that VTB would give the corporation $550 million to transfer the plant’s facilities to “Nothern shipyard” (Severnaya verf) and clearance of site in Vasiliy island for the construction of offices and elite housing. As journalists reported, not only financial but administrative support of VTB was important for Sergey Pugachev: the son of St Petersburg governor, Sergey Matvienko, was at the head of one of VTB structures.
With reference to confidential source, printed media reported that VTB could make the project real. "The lobby efforts of Sergey Pugachev were not enough to move the project forward himself. During the last year he didn’t manage to, - the source from VTB supervisory board reported Kommersant.- VTB, where the governor’s son works is just a gift for him” Sergey Matvienko was at the head of “VTB-capital”, Petersburg daughter of the bank, dealing with developer projects. Officially there were no any comments from VTB about lobby part of the project.
Source: Newspaper «Kommersant» № 144 (3720) from 14.08.2007
Later journalists paid attention to mutually beneficial neighborhood of Smolniy and project “Nevsky town hall”, which was being realized under control of Sergey Matvienko. It was supposed that on the territory of “Nevsky town hall”complex woul be placed the new residence of St Petersburg administration, “Smolniy-2”, and business centers of A class.
According to investment contract, Petersburg government would buy meant for it more than 100 thousand square meters from VTB at cost price (at the cost about not less than $1 thousand for 1 square meter). Thereby the city would return VTB considerable part of taxes for re-registration the bank’s head office in St Petersburg in 2005 (amounted to not less than $37 million annually). At the same time “Smolniy-2” would become for VTB the anchor tenant, rising the attractiveness of other commercial real estate in “Nevsky town hall”.
Source: Application to newspaper “Kommersant” № 38/В (3855) from 11.03.2008
Later printed media informed that Sergey Matvienko came to city recycling market. It was informed that Sergey Matvienko got control over the first recycling plant at Volhonskoe shosse via CJSC “VTB-capital (investment “daughter” of bank “VTB”). Scandalousness of the situation was that the plant got in the middle of serious conflict between St Petersburg government housing committee Chairman Yunis Lukmanov and CEO of the plant Yury Likhachev.
According to Leonid Vaisberg, CEO of OJSC “Scientific production enterprise “Mekhanobrteknika”, VTB bought Yury Likhachev’s stock. First Deputy CEO of the company Mikhail Fedashko refused that information. According to opened printed media, the matter didn’t have further development.
Source: «Delovoy Petersburg» from 03.04.2008
Printed media got also interested in the news that the headman of “Novatek” Leonid Mikhelson and Sergey Matvienko planned to realize joint project of St Petersburg institute of mines. In that regard it was reported that the company of Mikhelson and Matvienko, “Brand” Ltd., was founded in 2005 in Samara region in accordance with Unified State Register of Legal Entities. In October 2007 Mikhelson owned 75% of «Brand», Matviyekno’s company «Strelets-2» (bank “Saint Petersburg” shareholder) — 18,2%, as stated in Unified State Register of Legal Entities. The rest of stock belonged to Sergey Okunev, an old associate of Mikhelson, Chairman of First United bank board.
The information was very closed, however, the printed media found out about oil and gas company “Gorniy”, which 27,5% belonged to “Brand” (Unified State Register of Legal Entities data). The founder of oil and gas company – St Petersburg institute of mines, it’s chancellor, Vladimir Litvinenko, reported to “Vedomosti”. Oil and gas company conducts prospect drilling in Nenetskiy autonomous area at Vorga-Missyurskiy section. In 2005 Institute of mines got the license for it. Students practiced there and the institute developed new technologies. However, till 2012 it would be necessary to open and register resources (according to license terms), which would require 300-400 million rubles annually, Litvinenko told. So institute had to refuse from that section for oil and gas company, because starting from 2004 state institutes of higher education were forbidden to take credits in banks, and starting from 2006 – to invest money to legal entities’ authorized capital. There were and exclusion for intellectual property investments. According to that model the institute established oil and gas company “Gorniy”. Then it was looking for investors for almost a year. There was no information about further development of the project with Matvienko’s participation.
Source: «Vedomosti» from 28.04.2008
Soon printed media described scandal with company’s “Parameter” claims for two buildings in the centre of St Petersburg. Gross legal violations were done in realization of those projects. Sergey Matvienko owned CJSC “Parameter” via CJSC “Empire”.
Source: «Vedomosti» from 29.08.2008
Later British printed media paid attention to Sergey Matvienko. British newspaper “Nottingham evening post” wrote that Russian businessman, the son of St Petersburg governor Valentina Matvienko, Sergey Matvienko, wished to be accommodated in Nottingham castle museum during his stay in Great Britain, however, he was refused by the museum management.
According to journalists, Sergey Matvienko was going to visit United Kingdom in the end of September to participate in wrestling tournament between St Petersburg’s club Red Devils and it’s competitor – team from USA.
The newspaper noted that when choosing place for Matvienko’s accommodation “Russians refused from president apartments, saying that they needed something bigger and better”. Russians were offered president apartments in five star Park Plaza hotel, but, according to “Nottingham evening post”, Matvienko said, that suitable place for him and his 40 fellows would be castle of Nottingham – the city, in which surroundings, according to legend, the noble robber Robin Hood operated.
It was not possible to realize that idea because the castle was not suitable for accommodation.
Source: «RIA-Novosti» from 16.09.2008
In spring 2009 journalists paid attention to the circumstance that Sergey Matvienko was one of co-owners of CJSC “National media group”. His structures owned 0,8% of “National media group” and shares in assets under it’s control – about 3% in TV and radio company “Petersburg” (“Fifth channel”), less than 1% in TV channel REN TV. The major stockholders of “National media group” still remained “Sever group”, “Surgutneftegas”, “Sogas” and investment company “Abros”.
According to updated data of Unified State Register of Legal Entities and “SPARK-Interfax” agency, about 3 % of “Media-invest” Ltd. (owned 27,8% of “National mediagroup”) belonged that moment to “Karinti” Ltd. The sole owner of “Karinti” Ltd was “Nord-west Management” Ltd, 90 % of which belonged to CJSC “Empire”, which was owned by Sergey Matvienko. Thereby, the structures of St Petersburg governor, Valentina Matvienko’s, son Sergey owned 0,79% of “National media group”. In addition, according to “SPARK-Interfax”, in the list of “Karinti” Ltd daughter companies was “TV radio company “Petersburg” OJSC, which 2,99 % belonged to “Karinti”. All together “Karinti” owned less than 1% in TV channel REN TV.
Source: Newspaper «Kommersant» № 63 (4118) from 09.04.2009
Media's attention to Skrynnik and her past performance increased when she obtained the position of Minister of Agriculture of Russia in March 2009. But the first scandal record refers to 2003, when Skrynnik was the leader of the leasing company Rosagroleasing. Deputy Transport Minister of RF, N. Smirnova published the letter on the website "Kompromat.ru, in which she exposed Skrynnik's activities in her position and described the working scheme of the scroll budget, which Skrynnik proceeded.
The scheme is as follows: all Russian factories working with Skrynnik opened an account not only in the public "Rosselkhozbank", but also in the commercial "Akademhimbank» (now Converse bank-Moscow"). Its chairman, Mr. Antonov had previously held the post of the first Deputy Director General in “Rosagrolizing». According to the letter, the second account in Antonov's bank was a prerequisite for cooperation with "Rosagroleasing. Under this scheme, as soon as budgets fell on account of "Rosagrolizing", they were reallocated among the equipment suppliers — some Russian engineering companies; and then they got shifted into the accounts in the commercial "Akademhimbank” and were kept there for years without being redeemed.
In addition to he above-stated accusations, the article contained excerpts of the Accounting Chamber inspection of the "Rosagrolizing", which confirmed that the funds received by the company for the purchase of agricultural technology, had not been fully spent. Furthermore, among the revealed infringements the following episodes were designated:
The money made in the charter capital of OAO “Rosagrolizng”, JSC "Agricultural Bank of Russia" and SUE «Federal agency on regulation of the food market”, had been on 99% used for salaries, taxes, commissions and bank licenses, but not to conduct activities under the statute.
According to the contract of 28 January 2002 between CJSC "Moscow investment real estate company" and OAO "Rosagroleasing» a search of the property had been ordered. As a result of the contract execution a compensation amounted to 30 thousand dollars was paid to ZAO Moscow investment real estate agency ".
After the Accounting Chamber had counted that equipment's credit cost the farmer 40 percent more, the percentage dropped to 2-3 per year. But thus "Rosagroleasing» took almost all the property as a deposit, and in case of non-payments under the credit the farmer risked to remain not only without the technics, but without a thing at all.
In fact Skrynnik was an autocratic ruler of "Rosagroleasing». Her mother and brother Leonid Novitsky worked under her supervision. After appointment of Skrynnik as the minister her post in "Rosagrolizinge" passed to her brother.
Skrynnik formed a team of supporters, which included the Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, who headed the board of directors in “Rosagrolizing ", and even President Dmitry Medvedev, who had worked with Skrynnik on the national project "Agriculture ".
"Madame Leasing" Stringer", 08.07.2003, "How Skrynnik learned to plow" "interlocutor", 07.04.2009
At the end of 2009 the State Office of Public Prosecutor inspected activity of "Rosagrolizing", and identified a number of infringements. In particular, the company created a network of intermediaries between the company and the lessees, which led to more expensive services of the company. In addition, after the conclusion of contracts for the equipment sale in certain cases "Rosagroleasing" enumerated the vendors hundreds of millions of rubles as a prepayment, while the equipment was delivered in long periods of time, up to a year. All that time the private companies could use the funds for their own purposes, including to list them on the company's deposit accounts and offshore. Prosecutors remained dissatisfied with the fact that the company had not opened regional offices, while in 2007 the board of directors had decided to establish 11 branches of the company.
After prosecutor general office checking the in late November 2009 the first Deputy of Prime Minister, in charge of agriculture, as well as Chairman of the Board of Directors Zubkov convened an extraordinary board of directors of “Rosagrolizing». He demanded that the company's General Director, Leonid Orsik returned the money that had been transferred to offshore contractors and deposits and stoped advancing non-produced equipment and ensured equal access to federal leasing of all manufacturers of agricultural machinery. Orsik was to report on the elimination of deficiency at the January meeting of the Board of Directors "Rosagrolizing', but on December 31 he died of an acute heart failure at age 48.
Experts assume that the problems of Skrynnik could have appeared because of her disagreements with Zubkov, as he was interested in the fact that all the questions of agrarian policy concentrated on him personally. In addition, he had to react harshly to the violations in the "Rosagroleasing» to lift himself out of the blow, as he had been heading the board of directors of the company.
Rosagroleasing has squandered the budget for corporative events" "Gazeta", 20.11.2009, "Vedomosti", 02.02.2010
In early 2010 the Accounting Chamber inspected the federal budget usage aimed at implementation of interventions in the markets of agricultural products, raw materials and food in the late 2008. According to the inspection report, the unplanned budget expenditures in 2010 for the storage of 8 million tons of grain that had been purchased in the cereal intervention in 2008-2009, would have amounted to 8 billion rubles. They failed to sell this grain during the crisis, and now the money spent are getting literally rot.
According to the mechanism of grain interventions the part of the new crop of cheap grain is purchased with the possibility of selling it to higher price. This state agent receives a fixed fee for the intervention, and profit gained from the price "smoothing" at the grain market is transferred to the budget. When a record number of grain was baught in 2008 theAgency on regulation of the food market (ARPR) acted as the state agent (led by Vasily Krutin).
The Accounting Chamber auditor Mikhail Odintsov questioned the necessity and legitimacy of the intervention in 2008 on such a scale. He argued that part of the grain had been purchased on the basis of illegitimate orders of the Ministry of Agriculture, who failed to pass the duly registration of the RF Ministry of Justice. The grain was purchased in the amount of 970 million rubles under the "invalid orders" of the Ministry, then headed by Alexei Gordeev,.
Skrynnik claimed at the presidium of the Government, that the purchased quantity of grain allowed the State to support the grain producers by stabilizing prices and establishing a financial foundation for the field work.
The Intervention has been remembered for its account "Kommersant, 05.02.2010, Kommersant, 05.02.2010
Companies that "Rosagroleasing” had been working with were not strangers to Skrynnik. In 1998 Skrynnik established in Moscow three companies - "Rusmedinvest-M", "Medlizing" and Russian medical company. In 2000, the Russian medical company, "Medlizing" and their joint company "Investregionlizing" through affiliated structures (OOO Himgarantkonstruktsiya "," Montazhstroykonstruktsiya "and" Akademrieltservis ") acquired 15% of Akademhimbank. Subsequently, the majority of technology vendors of "Rosagroleasing» became the bank's customers.
The other two companies related to Skrynnik - TD "Grain" and "Voronezh land" - were also at least partially based on a partnership with the leasing state company. Both of them were established in 2002 and were selling the grain and paid with it to "Rosagroleasing» as the farmers never had hard cash.
The main claims of the General Prosecutor referred to the relationship of "Rosagrolizing» with Saransk Excavator Plant (JSC" Sarex "). Prosecution argued (with reference to information of Rosfinmonitoring) that "Sarex" transferred the money obtained from the "Rosagrolizing» to the bank deposits, as well as to some commercial organization, which operations were connected with the withdrawal of money to offshore.
"Sarex" was also connected to the structures of Skrynnik. In April 2007 the company Agroevrosoyuz owned 50.42% of the “Sarex's” stake. "Agroevrosoyuz" was established in 2002 by TD "Grain".
In May 25 the Board of Directors of Sarex was modified significantly. It included inter alia: the general director of "Agroevrosoyuz» and former member of the legal department" Rosagrolizing» Yuri Karpov, the head of purchasing department of "Rosagrolizing» Vladimir Dryazgov, president of «Medlizing» Leonid Zubovsky, the chief of physician Aesthetic Center «Swiss Perfection» Evgeny Makarov, a member of the expert council "Rosagrolizing" Alexander Ezhevsky and Leonid Orsik, at the time headed the Department of Science and Technology Policy of the Ministry of Agriculture. The same as in Akademhimbank case, the arrival of the Skrynnik's team to the plant led to its prosperity. State orders from "Rosagrolizing" helped "Sarex" in 2008 to become the largest Russian manufacturer of tractors.
When Skrynnik came to the Ministry of Agriculture she took the entire "Rosagrolizing" team with her. Two deputy general director of the company - Sergei Korolev and Oleg Aldoshin — became the deputies minister. The Deputy Minister was also the former CEO of "Volgogradagrolizinga" - one of the partners of sublizing partners of "Rosagrolizing" - Alexander Belyaev. Deputy Head of Department of "Rosagrolizing Vyacheslav Nungezer headed the department of scientific and technological policy of the Ministry; and the head of department on work with the leasing companystaff Olga Dulepova-Meneylyuk — went to the relevant department of Ministry of Agriculture. Starting from August 2009 the former co-owner of the leasing company "Lipetskagrosnab" and the head of the regional units "Rosagrolizing» Oleg Don headed by the administrative department of the Ministry of Agriculture.
There were also scandals related to the two ex-husbands of Skrynnik. In January 2010, the former husband of Skrynnik ( as a student) Sergei Skrynnik had been holding a position of chief of the government procurement of the material management in the Chelyabinsk region. Then he was arrested for taking bribes in Chelyabinsk. According to investigators, he had over taking bribed within the whole 2009, paid by the commercial firms for the patronage at auction. A criminal case for "taking bribes on a large scale" had been opened. The materials received from the UBEP (Directorate for Combating Economic Crimes) inspections of the regional police department became basis for the case. According to the investigative authorities, in September and December 2009 Skrynnik together with unknown persons received over 300 thousand rubles and as well as expensive alcohol from the representatives of the business organizations. Bribes had been given for illegal actions of applications acceptance with violence of terms and for the admission to participation in auction, and also for the general protection with the assistance of those commercial organisations in auctions, and for elimination of the competing organisations out of the competitions. Prosecution of Skrynnikov has not been brought yet .
"The State auctioneer has been estimated at 300 thousand rubles of bribes" "Kommersant", 16.01.2010
Yuri Kukota married Skrynnik in 2004, he wrote a statement to the police, accusing her of murder threats. In 2005 Kukoty and Skrynnik had two children born, Michael and Irina. Two years later the marriage cracked. Skrynnik filed for divorce, then did not allow him to see the children. According to Kukota, he suggested Skrynnik to meet and discuss the issue, while Skrynnik together with he security threatened him with physical violence. According to Skrynnik, Kukota asked her to marry him again, and she promised to think about it. Criminal case has not been initiated yet.