On 12 April a source close to Mirax Group made a striking announcement that in the nearest future a subsidiary of the company, the well-known Potok set up by Sergey Polonsky, might change the owner. The news has been confirmed by Aleksandr Dobrovinsky, a business partner and lawyer of Polonsky. It is known that 90% in Potok will be brought into the ownership of Roman Trotsenko, another business partner of the notorious real estate developer. Following an old habit of his, Trotsenko refrains from making any comments.
A failed spy
During the perestroika, this resourceful young man while being a student of the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Moscow State University was actively selling computers and cigarettes. Later Trotsenko mentioned that he did this because “times change”. At first he was preparing to serve at the well-known First Main Directorate of KGB as the Institute was a traditional source of new personnel for USSR special services. This is where all the rumours about his connections among power ministries employees stem from, regardless of how much Trotsenko denies he has any. In fact, without such connections his further achievements look highly improbable. For instance, the numerous shadow activities of the successful businessman did not lead to any consequences.
In late 1980s Trotsenko was sent to Kazakhstan for on-site training. Almost immediately he became financial director of the Asiya-TV network covering the whole republic. Yet, there are two versions as to the date of this appointment. According to one, Trotsenko got the position not later than in 1987, the other claims at least 1990. It is a fact that the network was established in 1989-90. Up until 1990 it had no broadcasting niche.
Looks like Trotsenko managed to get a position in a non-existing company. Moreover, it is a well-known fact that in 1987-89 Trotsenko went for training to the USA and Portugal. Does this make the second version right? Not at all. It is also a fact that in 1989 Trotsenko became chairman of the board of trustees at the international bank Al Baraka Kazakhstan, having left his previous position. It is not clear why he would want to keep a year and a half of his life out of sight, but the so-to-say missing years match the period of his serving at the bank, directly after which in 1991 Trotsenko became a co-founder and financial director of an international medical exchange. Is it just a coincidence that Trotsenko suddenly had the money to make such a bold move? His further business activities rather prompt that it was no coincidence.
Trotsenko's guide to loaning money
After a little while of being part of the newly born Russian exchange market of the early 1990s that emerged literally out of the blue, Trotsenko founded a company with an unpretentious name Financy i kredit that was engaged in activities within the popular business sphere of the time. Trotsenko prefers to keep this part of his biography away from the public eye as well. Part of the reason for this is that in 1993 while he was heading the company he was a witness in three criminal cases over theft with the help of forged payment advice notes.
Finally, in 1994 he was appointed charman of the board of trustees in the newly established Platinum-bank. Methods he employed become clear if you look at a story that unfolded in 1996.
That year Platinum-bank took out loans from Intellekt-bank and Alta-bank amounting to 2 billion dollars. It is easy to guess that it was Trotsenko who mediated for the loan. He presented his fellow bankers a balance sheet report of Platinum-bank for February and March 1996 where he overstate the final figures by 8 billion rubles. The loan issued by the two banks never made it to the Platinum-bank. Both Trotsenko and the money stayed in Moscow.
However, the victimized bank was in no rush to uncover Trotsenko's activities. On the contrary, all his colleagues took his side. According to the new board of trustees chairman, Roman Trotsenko was a decent man and all that happened was just dirty tricks of the loan givers to whom Platimun-bank defaulted on the loan obligations. Later when Trotsenko was reminded of this story once in a while, he only showed a bit of annoyance and kept silent. According to him, the hired managers set him up, and mass media “distorted the whole thing as usual”. This is how the banker paid back to his former colleagues for the good they did for him.
Nevertheless, in October 1996 Trotsenko was arrested and put behind bars up until the end of investigative proceedings. It is peculiar that his naive colleagues would bring him warm clothes and food. Leftenant Yuri Stenin was even awarded a badge and was promoted for having arrested Trotsenko. Meanwhile, the hunter and his prey were getting along and became friends.
Elegant scam with a disturbing finale
The bank that Trotsenko had been managing soon went bankrupt and its money vanished. Trotsenko was released since the loaners dropped their claims to the no longer existing Platinum-bank. Yet, it was not over for the businessman. Intellekt and Alta turned a blind eye to this story quite easily, but the main loan provider of Platinum-bank, Novy Moskovsky bank, lost 20 billion rubles because of the bankruptcy and was ready to wage war. NMB did understand who was behind the loan scams and targetted Trotsenko.
Meanwhile Roman Trotsenko found new grounds for shady business when he headed bank Voskhod, which just like Financy i kredit has never been officially recorded as part of Trotsenko's working places. Probably it is due to the fact that in late 1990s he was under investigation for alleged illegal transit of 200 million dollars abroad.
NMB decided to harm Trotsenko's plans and tried to interfere into acquisition of shares in Southern cargo port in Moscow he was aiming to carry out. The bank was anxious because Trotsenko claimed he could not return the money due to lack of financial capacity. But he did have the money to buy the shares, thought the bankers, thus he should have the capacity all right.
Novy Moskovsky bank failed to take into account that Trotsenko had long had relevant protection His buddy Yuri Stenin made an agreement with Sergey Ivanov, a friend of his who worked at the anti-corruption 6th department of Regional Administration for combating organized crime, and on 9 January 1998 the department employees along with SOBR special police conducted a raid search at the NMB office allegedly connected to the bank employees being involved in theft of loan money, initially formed by NMB funds, Tatenergo. Immidiately after that NMB preferred to drop any demands it had for Trotsenko to respond to.
In acknowledgement of this favour, Trotsenko hired Strelets private security agency owned by Stenin to help him rid of smaller rivals at the cargo port. As for Ivanov, they simply ditched him and, without the support on the NMB case, he was fired. A little later special police conducted searches at Strelets and Trotsenko broke off his ties with Stenin. Roman Trotsenko had a surprisingly well-regulated skill to leave people behind.
Trotsenko's profit rose considerably after he acquired the cargo port. He still is reluctant to give any comments concerning the peanut price he paid for the thing. For instance, the first 30% of the shares cost him as little as 300 000 dollars.
Soon restructuring of the port, which Trotsenko bought on the money he “loaned” from the banks, drew attention of the Federal Transport Service and Trotsenko became head of Moscow inland navigation division. In 2001, with full consent of the authorities, he bought out all shares of the division and his position grew to be more than well-established. Starting at that moment Trotsenko's business empire started to expand at high speed.
He emerged at the real estate development market, as well as at real estate retail one and that of construction materials manufacturing. A number of companies was working for him in this sphere. Some of them were established by Trotsenko, others bought out like concrete goods plant ZHBI no. 6. His manner of doing business was considered aggressive. At that time it meant that the businessman resorted to dirty tricks as well. He even had a raider team of his own, for tasks that needed careful implementation.
Still, when he needed to do something really big, Trotsenko preferred to join forces with other front line businessmen. The most notorious major raider take over was that of Research Institute for elastomers in 2004.
Trotsenko chose an experienced accomplice, Vladimir Palikhata. At first Sfera company, headed by Palikhata, occupied the building hosting the research centre and then it took over control of the entity. In order to legilize their status, the raiders forged share sale agreement. After that there was a number of lawsuits and litigations all resulting in favour of Sfera which pre-paid the court rulings to ensure the favourable outcome. Then all happened in accordance with the common scenario: the entity was reregistered in a different city (Novosibirsk) and sold to the commissioner of the take over, e.i. to Moscow inland navigation division.
When Sergey Reznichenko, the actual owner of the research institute, decided to appeal to court, he faced a criminal case initiated against him to force him drop claims. Meanwhile, investigator who was looking closely into the activities of the raiders died under strange circumstances. It was getting really dangerous and Trotsenko, following an old habit of his, ridded of the raider team to brake off any connections.
In 2007 Trotsenko united all of his companies into AEON group with a joint turnover of 1.2 billion dollars. AEON includes Russia-Holland company Timmerman Yachts manufacturing yachts of premium class. Trotsenko loved yachting since he was a child and when he fulfilled his most ambitios plans in this area, in 2009 he was invited by Igor Sechin to head state building holding company OSK (United Shipbuilding Corporation).
With protection from the most powerful but one person in the country, Trotsenko resorted to even more bold methods. In 2010 his wife Sofia organized First All-Russia contest of industrial design in shipbuilding exuberantly titled “Building the fleet of a great country”. It is clear that the main participant of the contest was Trotsenko's entity, Winzavod Moscow Centre for Modern Art headed by Sofia Trotsenko. The contest was organized on the federal funds.
Trawler construction programme won by Winzavod in the framework of the contest proved a complete failure. Workers at state-own shipbuilding yard received no pay. The usual question following the tracks of Trotsenko arose: where did the money go?
Unfortunatelly for Trotsenko, the same question worried investigators at the Prosecutor General's office who rushed to conduct probes and audits at OSK. Igor Sechin was informed about the activities of the corporation president and Trotsenko could face imprisonment under art. 201 of the RF Criminal Code for abuse of office. In particular, investigators found out that a total of 4 billion rubles owned by OSK was deposited to private banks for the sake of interest payments.
The scandal was about to burst out, but finally it was blanketed, not without efforts. However, there was no stopping Trotsenko at that point. In 2011 OSK demanded that Ministry of Defence increased pay for government contracts. Trotsenko, the notorious raider, must have confused having private business with heading a state-own company jeopardised defensive capacity of the country pursuing his own financial interests. Igor Sechin had to intervene.
Finally, on 1 July 2012 Roman Trotsenko left OSK. Immediately he became advisor to Igor Sechin who was heading Rosneft.
State employed raider
While working for the OSK Trotsenko made yet one more risky move. He lent money to the Mirax group. One could see just how risky it was from the tensity of relations between Igor Sechin and Arkady Drorkovich, Sergey Polonsky's benefactor.
Still, Trotsenko felt free to transfer a total of 200 million dollars of the state funds to his business partner and friend Polonsky. Using federal budget money as if it was his own, the efficient shipbuilding manager created a certain dependence for himself on the success of Mirax group in its struggle to pay off its debts.
However, Trotsenko was not so foolish when he lent such a significant sum of state funds to a company on the verge of bankruptcy. All he did was part of a brilliant and easy to carry out scam of trasferring the money to his private accounts. In April 2011 it became known that OSK is holding negotiations with Mirax concerning restructuring of the debt. The plan was to convert part of the debt into Mirax shares and bring them into the ownership of… AEON.
Then, the events came thick and fast. In July 2012 Sergey Polonsky who owns 75% in Potok (former Mirax) announced that he owns the entire company. Minority owners including Trotsenko opposed the businessman. Most likely this was exactly the moment when Trotsenko developed a plan to take over Polonsky's business.
His first move was to rid of another Mirax minority shareholder and long-time business partner of Polonsky, Maksim Temnikov, who had been Polonsky’s business partner ever since he started his business many years ago. When Temnikov left his position as executive manager several days after the notorious announcement by Polonsky, Trotsenko had to share control over Mirax with Vladimir Golubev, co-owner of Adamant group of companies.
In October 2012 when Potok was headed by Aleksey Alyakin, it looked like the shareholders found common ground. Alyakin signed preliminary agreements with all shareholders on buying out their shares in former Mirax. Then, according to Polonsky, he subtracted part of the assents in his favour. In February 2013 while in prison in Cambodia Polonsky announces that Alyakin is fired. Aleksandr Dobrovinsky became the new chairman in Potok. On 12 April 2013 it was announced that Dobrovinsky and Trotsenko are aiming to buy out the remaining part of Polonsky's business from the owner.
As usual, raiders do not plan to pay off the debts of the company itself. And apart from major construction market participants, other people whose lives are jeopardised are simple workers, builders and, first of all, hoodwiked investors who participated financially in the construction of Kutuzovskaya Mile residential complex. Polonsky ows them about 5.7 billion rubles. It is clear that Polonsky, who lost control over the situation, by no means could return such a large sum to the investors. However, there is even less hope that it will happen after Trotsenko gains control over Mirax.
"Aleksandr Bastrykin, Chairman of the Investigative Committee, took personal control over the St. Petersburg investigation in a case of embezzlement of 38 million rubles allocated to Northern Shipyard, part of United Shipbuilding Corporation (OSK). In the near future the investigators plan to bring charges against Dmitry Gromyko and Aleksey Mordovichev, the leaders of Sameta - tax and legal advice, where part of the funds allocated for the shipyard ended up. Mordovich and Gromyko are long-term business partners of OSK ex-president, Roman Trotsenko, who recently became primary suspect in the Investigative Committee investigation and who habitually refers to himself as the right-hand of Igor Sechin [http://expert.ru/south / 2014/12/volgo-donu-grozit-neftyanoj-zatyik /].
It was Trotsenko’s name in the case file that made Russian chief investigator Aleksandr Bastrykin take the case under his personal control. His subordinate, head of the Main Investigative Directorate at the Investigative Committee in St. Petersburg, Aleksandr Klaus promised that soon there would be more details in the investigation [http://www.compromat.ru/page_34427.htm]: Mordovich and Gromyko have quite some facts to disclose. For over ten years they have been working with Federal Tax Service and arbitration courts to ensure they make decisions in the best interests of Trotsenko. Along the way, the founders ofSameta protected their own vital interests concerning large tax returns.
In addition to troubles with the Investigative committee, Gromyko and Mordovichev are now challenged by the Russian special forces. Turns out, a co-owner of Sameta is a Ukrainian politician Vladimir Vashko - one of the sponsors and organizers of Kyiv Maidan. Another business partner of Roman Trotsenko[http://rospres.com/hearsay/14128] is Vladimir Antonov, a Lithuanian banker who is hiding from law enforcement in London and prefers to give interviews toUkrayinska Pravda, the internet voice of the self-styled Kiev authorities.
"Given the connections that Gromyko and Mordovich got in arbitration courts, Federal Tax Servise and several other departments, Sameta quickly got itself a number of clients. Among the new clients was Roman Trotsenko, adviser to Igor Sechin, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Roman Trotsenko met leaders of Sameta back in 2000. Russian tax police statements show that the illegal business around tax return was closely associated with the companies of Interros group owned by Vladimir Potanin. In the late 1990s, a former aide to President Boris Yeltsin, Major-General of Military Intelligence Boris Kuzyk together with Interros established New programs and concepts (NPK). As its contribution to the share capital of the company, Interrosprovided securities of a number of companies, including Northern Shipyard bringing it under full control of NPK. North-Western Shipping Company also ended up under the full control of New programs and concepts. Dmitry Gromyko became a kind of an overseer for the interests of Interros in NPK. Officially, he took one of the posts in the shipping company.
By this time Roman Trotsenko already owned Moscow inland navigation divisionand actively developed his business. His usual manner was hostile takeovers, including bribery of top managers in the camp of competitors. In NPK Dmitry Gromyko was the bribed top manager who was supposed to help Trotsenko get certain assets of the entity. Gromyko arranged another helper for Trotsenko, his friend Yuri Tufanov who in 1998 to 2007 served as the company’s Deputy General Director.
Their joint efforts led Northern Shipyard which already at that time was financially supported by the state, North-Western Shipping Company and other companies managed by NPK into distress. However, Trotsenko failed to gain control overNorthern Shipyard. It was given over to a more influential figure, a banker Sergei Pugachev. Trotsenko got his share as well, in a number of other entities underNPK.
Cooperation with Gromyko worked out all right for Trotsenko, so later he used this businessman and his Sameta for most of his projects. Mordovichev and Gromyko were to solve various local problems such as to negotiate with representatives of the Tax Service for their refusal from tax claims in large amounts; urge arbitration courts to rule in a certain way; bribe people in the camp of competitors, etc. Such tasks required little legal skill. It required connections in the Tax Service and among judges, and to have money to meet their financial needs. And they had it all. Gromyko and Mordovichev were well connected, and Trotsenko had the money.
Today Sameta employs about 50 people. Some of them are lawyers that are being prepared for future introduction to the courts, large state-owned entities, tax authorities, other government entities. For example, in 2013 Yevgeniy Strelnikov, a former employee of Sameta, became a judge in the Moscow Arbitration Court. Just now his colleague and the presiding judge Andrey Grechishkin is considering a multibillion lawsuit [http://inright.ru/articles/real% 20estate/20140418/id_1192 /] for the recovery of funds in favour of the firm owned by Roman Trotsenko. Alan Khadziev, also a former Sameta employee, is now head of a sub department in one of the Ministry of Energy departments.
The other part Sameta staff are former employees of the tax service and other government agencies who already performed some work for Sameta in their previous engagements and got the job here after facing trouble. Among them a lot of people came to Sameta on personal patronage of Trotsenko. For example, a former spokesman for the Ministry of Transport, Aleksandr Filimonov. He came to the Ministry of Transport when Trotsenko was an official in this agency, so when talking to the media he defended rather the interests of Trotsenko than those of the ministry".
"From what Novoselskiy is saying it appears that he never acted on his own and always implemented what had been decided by the management, including in the case of theft of 38 million rubles. His former boss, ex-president of OSK Roman Trotsenko, already started to prepare for possible issues with law enforcement. His representatives announced that Trotsenko has been seriously injured and needs a surgery and long-term treatment. Most likely he would have to go abroad, where Trotsenko would be unavailable for Russian investigators".
"When in 2009 Trotsenko was appointed president of OSK, his task was to consolidate numerous corporate assets, improve the financial performance of shipyards, provide them with orders. A set of government contracts worth 231 billion rubles was meant to help him out. These funds were to go to the shipyards that would build new military and civilian vessels and get out of the crisis. The fate of the allocated federal budget funds became the subject of separate investigations and new criminal cases will yet be initiated time and again. This is a topic for a whole other article. In this one we are talking about the ways Trotsenko used to improve financial performance of shipyards without providing them with funds.
Most shipyards had huge debts to creditor banks, tax debts in gigantic amounts, debts to suppliers and subcontractors. All of them filed claims to arbitration courts so that shipyards were about to officially go bankrupt.
Trotsenko made a decision to transfer most of these debts to OSK, to the great relief of both shipyards managers and the banks who nearly ceased to expect to get their money back. What agreements which firms signed with what banks is still out there for the investigators to find out from Novoselskiy. And he knows.
But there were still debts of enterprises to the tax authorities and suppliers of raw materials, goods and services. Trotsenko found a way out of this situation as well. Almost his entire business career he resorted to hostile takeovers. In this field Trotsenko, according to investigators, established good relationships with at least five teams of takeover experts to address delicate problems with courts, law enforcement agencies and the Federal Tax Service. The problems were mostly solved one way, through bribery.
According to eyewitness, since 2010 Trotsenko actively communicated with the members of these teams and gave them orders to solve all the problems of athis or that shipyard in OSK. "Spend as much as you need, everything will be reimbursed," Trotsenko would allegedly say to them. It is clear that representatives of these teams were not in the court room during official proceedings or in the Federal Tax Service during proceedings concerning tax dodging. Nevertheless, arbitration courts ruled in favour of the shipyards, and tax authorities lifted their claims. You can tell this cost some money".
"Pushy suppliers could be dealt with more radically. The teams used threats and paid for initiation of criminal cases. When the work was done, representatives of the teams went to Trotsenko to get their pay. He told them to contact the shipyards that would sign contracts (often retroactively) for legal and other services for exactly the amount the team wanted for their work done to solve problems. All legal technicalities were to be settled by Ilya Novoselskiy, the right hand of Trotsenko in OSK.
By 34 Ilya Novoselskiy worked most of his life in various construction companies and met Trotsenko when he became interested in this kind of business. In particular, in 2009 Novoselskiy was deputy general director for legal affairs in Standard Development LLC. The main owner of this enterprise is the family of Kaliningrad Governor Nikolai Tsukanov, an old friend of Roman Trotsenko.
According to some sources, Trotsenko has a share in Standard Development. When he became president of OSK, he soon invited Ilya Novoselskiy to take the position of head of the legal department. Novoselskiy represented OSK in the boards of directors of more than 20 shipyards and everyone knew that everything that Novoselskiy says is instructions directly from Trotsenko and therefore must be implemented at once. Novoselskiy also was engaged in working on all state contracts with the shipyards. Among other things, he was engaged in registration of contracts with the so-called problem-solvers. Trotsenko valued his right hand a lot and constantly indulged in bonuses from one to three million rubles a month".
"It is worth noting that Trotsenko already had quite a story about bonus payments that almost turned into a criminal case against him . Shortly before his dismissal from OSK in July 2012 Trotsenko offered a job in the company to his friend whom he appointed the chief of the personnel department. The president immediately gave a 3 million rubles bonus to the new staff member, a sort of a sign-on bonus. The new head of the department left in a few months and of course kept the bonus. The new OSK leadership at first was thinking about reporting the failed employee to the police. However, in December 2013 they filed a lawsuit to Moscow Arbitration Court against Trotsenko, seeking to recover the 3 million rubles.
If we go back to the story about Northern Shipyard, by the end of 2011 the Shipyard was on the verge of bankruptcy. By this time, in addition to numerous debts to banks and suppliers the shipyard got another claim from the tax authorities that required additional payments to the budget of almost 1 billion rubles. Help came from OSK president and his longtime friend Dmitry Gromyko, who had actively helped Trotsenko absorb Russian ports and shipping companies. Gromyko at one time served in the leadership of the North-Western Shipping Company".
"Dmitry owned the law firm Sameta which employs many former employees of the Federal Tax Service. Sameta was one of the teams of the so-called problem solvers for Trotsenko that used informal methods to eliminate the debts of enterprises in OSK before tax authorities and subcontractors. Around the same time as the abovementioned events at Northern Shipyard Gromyko entered the Public Council of the Federal Tax Service as deputy chairman of the Public Organization Historical and Legal Club. It is not surprising that the tax authorities could not refuse their Public Council member to help out with the1 billion rubles claims against Northern Shipyard. Informal price of the settlement is clear from the 38 million rubles contract for legal services signed between the CEO of Northern Shipyard Aleksey Ushakov and Sameta.
"Now it was time for Roman Trotsenko to get nervous. His representatives have already announced that Trotsenko got badly injured in a landing accident of his private jet. Allegedly, he needs a surgery and a long course of treatment. By the way, to make the announcement look more convincing, Trotsenko talks to his visitors while lying down, claiming that extreme pain would not let him sit and stand. In addition, a vast spectrum of informal methods is now aimed at closing OSK criminal case and keeping the media away from voicing anything about biggest corruption scandal in the military-industrial complex of Russia.
It is clear that when the whole situation goes south, the injury will provide for Roman Trotsenko to go abroad for treatment for an infinite period of time. According to a source in law enforcement agency, if in the course of investigation the surgery would not take place, Trotsenko will face serious questions in the next 2-3 months. This is how long it will take to verify the information received from Novoselskiy. It is possible that by this time there will be more criminal cases chocking the legal advice agreements for OSK shipyards run by Roman Trotsenko".
"Trotsenko is under cross fire and is in trouble not only with the representatives of law enforcement agencies, but also with the problem solvers he had used to settle issues on his behalf. His resignation in 2012 was unexpected so some of the problem solvers did not have time to sign contracts with the shipyards, whereas the work was already done, the money spent for bribes. It is clear that they demanded their costs paid back not from OSK, but from Trotsenko who they initially agreed to do the work with. The total debt is estimated at approximately near the amount that Northern Shipyard paid to Sameta. At first Trotsenko claimed force majeure and promised to fix this soon. When the visitors were particularly annoying, he paid them some 2-3 million rubles. However, he has not yet paid up, preferring to avoid further contact with them".
Source: "Izvestia", 26 March2014
"United Shipbuilding Corporation (OSK) has sent to the Prosecutor General files on audit of spending the 14.2 billion rubles allocated in 2009-2012 by order of the Prime Minister of Russia for financial recovery of Amur Shipbuilding Plant (ASZ). According to the audit, the then leadership of the corporation headed by Roman Trotsenko used the money inappropriately: paid out some OSK loans, transferred to deposit accounts, signed agreements disadvantageous for ASZ. Reviewers also drew the attention of prosecutors to the fact that despite the order of the Prime Minister to provide help in 2011, Trotsenko initiated bankruptcy of the shipyard, which prevents ASZ even further from fully carrying out its obligations in the state defense order.
The audit mentioned earlier is that by OSK financial control department of the implementation of economic recovery plans at ASZ for the period from 2009 to 2013. Back in 2009, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin instructed the leadership of OSK to devise a financial recovery plan for ASZ. The budget allocated 14.2 billion rubles to save the entity. However, as the audit showed, the then management of the corporation ignored the order of the Prime Minister.
"From 1 January 2009 to 1 July 2013 not a single decision relating to the restructuring was made during ASZ General Meetings of Shareholders and the Board of Directors. ASZ never saw an approved financial recovery plan. Recovery plan has not been devised", says the audit.
During this period, four of the six ASZ board members were representatives of OSK. One of them was company’s president Roman Trotsenko, who also headed Far Eastern Center of Shipbuilding and Ship Repair (FECSR). Another was head of the legal department, Ilya Novoselskiy, who is now under investigation. The third was head of department for managing state order, Anatoly Shlemov. And the fourth one was head of the civil shipbuilding department Dmitry Sapov. Most key decisions by the board were made by this group of people.
During the audit it was found out that the funds allocated to support Amur shipyard were squandered.
"In the audited period OSK received 14.2 billion rubles from the federal budget for financial recovery of ASZ. The money never reached the distressed company and was used by OSK to repay a loan from Sberbank under non-revolving credit line started 17 December 2009", says the report of the Department of financial Control. This agreement was signed by Roman Trotsenko.
In 2009, by Vladimir Putin's order it was decided to provide ASZ with about 2 billion rubles. But, according to the auditors, the shipyard never got the money. "Funds provided as grant assistance from the federal budget in the amount of 1.9 billion rubles for the completion of the order number 518 by the order of OSK President Roman Trotsenko fully transformed into payables receivable from ASZ to OSK”, says the audit.
“The situation was no better with funds of Ministry of Defense, which were transferred to ASZ within contract obligations for the state defense order. This is about 7.6 billion rubles,” says a source at OSK to an Izvestia reporter.
According to the auditors, only 1.2 billion rubles of all the allocated funds were used for the purposes intended. Thus, one billion rubles got transferred to banks on deposit accounts and most of the money went to the projects of FECSR led by Trotsenko up until the middle of 2011. The company signed a contract with ASZ for the construction of supply vessels, but transferred to Amur shipyard only 3 million rubles, while the company spent more than 1.2 billion rubles while working on the project. "Work on the supply vessels worth 1.2 billion rubles could be conducted only by advances from the Defense Ministry", concluded the auditors. According to their calculations, "no less than 4.1 billion rubles of the state defense order payment was diverted from initial purposes and spent on things not related to its implementation."
All this brought ASZ on the edge. "OSK management selected restructuring plan that only increased payables due, despite the 14.2 billion rubles allocated by the government, by 3.6 billion rubles," noted the auditors.
According to the auditors, when Trotsenko was around, ASZ accounting showed that the company started to make a profit and the balance sheet total soared. However, it turned out that the progress existed only on paper. "An increase in the value of assets is largely artificial and due to the revaluation of fixed assets for the purpose of an additional share issue with a positive net asset value", OSK financial control specialists note.
Despite the direct order of Vladimir Putin to assist the shipyard, in October 2011 OSK president Roman Trotsenko initiated bankruptcy procedures. He sent a letter to the general director of SPMBM Malachite (part of OSK) in which he ordered to apply to the Arbitration Court of Khabarovsk Krai with a claim of insolvency (bankruptcy) of ASZ. The reason for this was a 16.5 million rubles debt of ASZ to Malachite which the parties had negotiated about and worked out a solution long ago. Malachite followed the order from senior management and the court brought temporary management to ASZ.
Trotsenko rejects all accusations from OSK.
“All decisions relating to spending funds allocated to ASZ were made based on orders from the Russian government and were registered by means of the decision of the Board,” explained Roman Trotsenko to Izvestia. “The last financial tranches were planned for 2013-2014, so the procedure of shipyard’s reorganization would have been completed only by the end of this year.”
ASZ representatives failed to promptly respond to questions of Izvestia.
Amur shipyard was commissioned by the Ministry of Defense and is currently building two corvettes 20380 (by the names of Sovershennyi and Gromkiy) and also is repairing and modernizing 877Varshavyanka diesel-electric submarine. The total price of these contracts is 30 billion rubles. Several weeks ago Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu voiced deep criticism about the way works are organized at ASZ and concerning the repairs of existing ships and delay in construction of new ones.
"The documents drawn up by Vlasenko on the decision of Grechishkin are considered crucial in hearing about 2.5 billion rubles that real estate investors paid for apartments in Kutuzovskaya mile residential complex, still under construction. Why Grechishkin made such a strange choice when selecting an expert? It was on the recommendation of the representatives from Avanta belonging to Roman Trotsenko, co-owner in Potok (current name of Mirax Group owned by Sergei Polonsky) and concurrently head of Rosneft Overseas SA.
It is hard to go against his will. At a certain point Grechishkin made a ruling that led to the transition of Yukos assets to Rosneft, and apparently in the habit he again acts in favour of Roman Trotsenko, who is linked to Rosneft. However, this time the withdrawal of money invested into Kutuzovskaya mile through the ruling of judge Grechishkin is not in the interests of state-owned company, but for the personal benefit of its top manage, Roman Trotsenko".
"Then came the crisis of 2008 and Polonsky’s enterprises were unable to invest in the construction of residential quarters, all works stopped. This was when Roman Trotsenko, president of United Shipbuilding Corporation and adviser to the president of Rosneft Igor Sechin, joined Mirax Group as a shareholder. After several years with no funding the developer terminated the co-investment agreement with Avanta and attracted other investors and contractors. For a long time nothing was happening to solve the issue with the defrauded real estate investors, even though the developer originally offered to guarantee apartments for the co-investors. Trotsenko and Polonsky were against such actions. Last fall, after the change of leadership in Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin included the defrauded investors in a supplementary agreement to the investment contract between the city and the developer".
"Last year it also turned out that the fugitive oligarch Sergei Polonsky who is hiding out in Cambodia, completely sold his assets including Federation tower in Moscow-City and Avanta, all to Roman Trotsenko. Trotsenko’s representatives announced that money collected from defrauded investors and invested in construction by Avanta, a total of 2.5 billion rubles, plus interest in the amount of approximately another 1.3 billion must be returned to this LLC. A lawsuit was filed to Moscow Arbitration Court. What a twist! The money once stolen from the defrauded investors is demanded not to use it in the construction of houses but to transfer to the entity that previously had stolen 3.2 billion rubles belonging to real estate investors.
The situation is clearly ridiculous. It would seem that bringing such a matter to court is not just immoral and illegal, but also stupid. It is as if a con artist who got hold of a person’s wallet by means of deception would require the court to recognize his right to own the money in the wallet of the victim on the ground that it was in his hands before his arrest by the police and thus was included in the list of physical evidence at the time of arrest. But jusge Andrey Grechishkin is willing to consider the claim. Apparently, since the time of rulings on Yukos case, he still believes that the decisions in favour of Roman Trotsenko are acts in the public interest and not in the interest of businessman Trotsenko or Rosneft".
"In order to determine the value of Fort Kutuzov (building 2ABV) Roman Trotsenko’s entity suggested Grechishkin called upon an assessment organization in Odintsovo district of Moscow region, NPO Standard. The defendant (developer, FTSSR) suggested to pick a more famous and influential institution working in the field of construction evaluation. But the judge was determined and supported his choice by alleged "high professionalism and competence" of the company’s employees".
"Such absurdities can be found in literally every word of NPO Standard appraisal report. Truly professional experts can’t help laughing at this amateurish text that looks more like a schoolboy essay after a first ever visit to a construction site. But the judge Andrey Grechishkin accepted the appraisal report just fine. All in all, hearings clearly unfold so as to protect the interests of Roman Trotsenko".
"The current owner of Avanta, Roman Trotsenko, is closely linked to Rosneft. At a certain point he served as adviser to the president of the company Igor Sechin. Now he heads a subsidiary, Rosneft Overseas SA. At the same time he has his business including that with Polonsky, the con artist who fled to Cambodia.
Considering all these awkward moments, Andrey Grechishkin should have used his right for recusal, not to be suspected of bias. But since 2004 the judge had no opportunity to help Rosneft. The company did fine without his support. And then an opportunity came to help out one of its top managers.
However, we may assume that this is not the first such service for Roman Trotsenko. For many years, Sameta - tax and legal advice has been engaged in solving various difficult situations for the businessman. First of all, it is services related to ensure the arbitration judges make the right decisions during the hearings.
Serving the interests of Trotsenko, heads of Sameta even became defendants in the investigation of Northern Shipyard carried out by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in St. Petersburg. This shipyard is part of United Shipbuilding Corporation headed until July 2012 by Roman Trotsenko. The investigators discovered that on 14 May 2012 Northern Shipyard management as instructed by the parent structure, OSK, signed a 38 million rubles service agreement with Sameta. The law firm received the money, except that no services were delivered to the entity. At least not officially. Well, you cannot really state a bribe to the judge in your official budget sheets, can you?"
"Shortly after the fire the scandalous developer Polonsky escaped from defrauded investors and the investigation to Cambodia, where he became the hero of crime news and jokes for what he did in one of the islands. The tower passed on to Roman Trotsenko, a businessman with a reputation as a master of hostile takeovers, former president of OSK, former adviser to Igor Sechin, and director of a Rosneft subsidiary. Last year he managed to convince Sberbank to cede its right over the loan issued earlier for the completion of the tower to Potok, an entity formerly owned by Sergei Polonsky and then was bought from him by proxy by a company that, according to media reports, belonged to Trotsenko and a prominent lawyer Dobrovinsky".
"Some experts tie the current situation around the tower with the fact that Roman Trotsenko failed to lobby the decision for Rosneft to purchase space in the building for its central office. Rumor has it that the idea was rejected by Igor Sechin since few people would be interested in the building with such a reputation and loan burden from Polonsky. And after there was talk about the possibility of moving the headquarters of Rosneft to the Far East, so all negotiations concerning the tower ended. One of the options considered was the construction by the oil company of its own skyscraper in the beginning of Kutuzovsky Prospekt, 12-14. The space Rosneft is currently located at, Sofiyskaya Embankment, no longer corresponds to the ambitions of the largest Russian company".