In St. Petersburg, police conducted a series of raids in places of residence of the former management of Group JFC CJSC, as well as in offices and warehouses of the company. They also searched the office of the general director of the Mikhailovsky Theater Vladimir Kekhman.
The searches were part of an investigation of the case brought by GSU GU MVD of Russia in St. Petersburg under part 4. Art.159 of the Criminal Code (Fraud in especially large size). According to the investigation, in 2010-2012, the top management of JFC received large loans from a number of major banks (Sberbank of Russia OJSC, Uralsib JSC, Raiffeisenbank CJSC, Bank of Moscow JSC, etc.). Instead, in February 2012, the heads of the company appealed to the Arbitration Court about recognition of Group JFC CJSC bankrupt.
In mid-November 2012, the London court found Kekhman bankrupt. Today the total debt only to Russian legal entities, including fines and penalties, amounts to 38.5 billion rubles ($ 1.3 billion). According to the British law, after adoption the decision on bankruptcy of an individual, the latter gets protection against all debt collection and judicial actions of legal entities and individuals of debt collection. Now, lenders will not be able to foreclose on its assets abroad. As a result, credit institutions suffered damage amounting to more than 10 billion rubles.
In the cause of operational-investigative actions, the JFC Company’s accounts were identified and blocked. By court order, the funds in the amount of about 400 million rubles were seized. The work on returning the rest of the money will continue.
They started speaking of Vladimir Kehman in 2007 after he had become the head of the famous Mussorgsky St. Petersburg State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater. Prior to that he had had a quite "invisible" life of a successful businessman selling fruits. He started barter trading back in 1990, when in his native Samara he "cashed" two carloads of oranges with profit. When he was 20 years old Kekhman served as deputy director of the public company «Rosopttorg». Also in Samara he created a brokerage office "Grad", but then again engaged in wholesale trade buing sugar directly from British suppliers.
In 1993 Kekhman met with Oleg Boiko, president of the concern "Olbi". St. Petersburg businessman Sergei Adoniev made them acquainted. Along with him Kekhman created «Olbi- jazz», trading unit of the concern. Within one year the company became the leader of the fruit market.
In 1997, the empire "Olbi" collapsed. Then Kekhman andYuri Rydnik, general director of "Soyuzkontrakt", established a company JFC. After the 1998 crisis Kekhman bought share of Rydnik, and began to control 90% of the company. In 2003, JFC acquired controlling stake in the firm "Fruit Center New Cheryomushki», occupying a niche in the Moscow market.
The rapid development of the company was caused by a wide borrowing through issuing bonds. By 2007, the time of loans payment was up. Kekhman could not make any significant payments to Hong Kong banks, he even tried to sell his fruit business, though at that time unsuccessfully. After the crisis Kekhman had sold shares of the company three times, and had redeemed them back three times as well - investors wanted to participate only in profits and were not willing to invest in development. Kekhman has dreamed for a long time that state will get interested in the fruit market, claiming that a banana - is the product of the first necessity.
At the end of 2009 Bank «St. Petersburg» bought 19.99% stake in JFC. The supplier of fruit has been opened a credit line of up to $ 35 million for a period of 3 years. JFC plans to strengthen its position in the regions. Thus, in 2010-2011 construction of new fruit terminal in Moscow, Kazan, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod is expected. Nothing is known about the price at which Kekhman sold the shares to the bank. But it is not excluded that it is comparable to the size of the long-term loan to the company.
Source: Gorzakaz from 07.05.2007; infranews.ru, 01.10.2009
When in 2007 Kekhman himself asked for the post of director of the state institution "the Mussorgsky Maly Theater of Opera and Ballet», some considered it as a kind of escape from the" fruits problems", others - a pure desire to make friends with the government. Kekhman even entered the theater academy, to learn well the "objective" (in 2009 Kekhman defended thesis with "excellent" on "The development concept of the Mikhailovsky Theater in 2009-2013").
Valentina Matvienko gave the theater at the disposal "of the banana king», who got bought into the promises of multimillion-dollars investments. Kekhman indeed invested $ 20 million of personal funds in the restoration of the theater. The theater underwent though major reforms — beginning with the name (it was renamed in Mikhailovsky Theater) up to the staff dismissals. while in the eyes of the urban public the academic theater became somewhat of a circus. Some incidents occur there constantly - with the indispensable assistance of Vladimir Kekhman. "I want to sing and dance!" - He said it once either in jest, or in earnest, then began taking a crack on stage. First he appeared as the Prince Lemon in a children's play Cipollino. Then intended to play the Trike party in the opera "Eugene Onegin".
During 2008, the Mikhailovsky Theater had experienced several scandals. The musical director Andrew Anikhanov and opera singer Yelena Obraztsova Defiantly left. «Oresteia» production directed by Alexander Sokurov was canceled. Premiere of "Eugene Onegin" was frustrated by the conflict of Kekhman with director Michael Dotlibov, who had not been paid the money for the work. Artists and musicians wrote an open letter to President Medvedev. Sokurov complained on Kekhman to Vladimir Putin. Only then the city committee on culture intervened in the conflict; it delineated the powers of the artistic director and director of the theater (they had been combined in a individual Kekhman). But relations between Kekhman and the troupe never became normal. Actors accused Kekhman of trying to pass the theater for lease, and to reconstruct the rehearsal rooms into offices. In early October 2009 Chairman of the Inter-regional association of trade unions organizations of St. Petersburg, and the Leningrad Trade Unions Association Andrei Gavrilov addressed a letter to the Minister of Culture Alexander Avdeev, saying that the theater's management was doing everything to reduce the opera productions, to reduce the artists, cash loss and image damage were taking place. In response Kekhman filed a suit against the union in the Court of Arbitration.
Source: www.dp.ru from 24.03.2009; www.NEWSru.com on 28/05/2008
In 2005 Kekhman took up development projects.Kekhman acquired department store Frunzenskiy (a monument of architecture) from the president of TPK "Euroservice”Konstantin Mirilashvili for $ 17 million". But Vladimir Kekhman said that the building could not be used cost-effectively because of the architectural features. It was advisable to demolish and build a modern business center on the draft of British architect Norman Foster. Especially for development projects a pattern of LQ Development was created. But KGIOP opposed which had issued a task for the restoration of facades only. Kekhman could have faced a court trial. In 2009 Kekhman still agreed with the requirement KGIOof P officials, refusing the demolition of the building. Now Frunzenskiy department store has been planed to be rebuilt into a concert hall of the Mikhailovsky Theater.
Source: www.saint-petersburg.ru on 10/04/2008, Fontanka, ru, 13.05.2009
JFC interest in the Mussorgsky theater is also explained by the accompanying real estate - in particular, the corps of theater workshops and hostel, located behind the Russian Museum (on the Engineering Street). Notorious developer Basil Sopromadze had also aimed at those buildings intending to build apartment-hotel and the storage of the Ethnographic Museum in the St Michael garden. But it Kekhman was ahead. He even tried to deprive the rights of artists living in the building, which was used as a hostel for the artists of the theater at: Griboedov banking, Building 4. The conflict moved to the judicial phase, but Kekhman apparently still has intention to evict tenants from the building.
In 2007 Kekhman further deepened into development, becoming a co-investor in Class A office center in the business zone "Pulkovo-3». Developer of the project was LLC "Nevsky project», which is equally owned by Vladimir and Sergei Kehmanu Rukin, owner of the LLC" Aviamotors " (it is also building a dealer center of BMWn the Pulkovo-2).
Source: www.dp.ru dated 22.05.2007, "Novaya Gazeta" on 07.05.2008
In 2009, the structures of the company JFC got the right to surveying development of the land plot, which is adjacent to the House of Political Education on the street of the Proletarian Dictatorship, directly opposite to the Smolny. Kekhman bought the building from BaltinvestBank, which principal shareholder and president is his former partner on JFC Yuri Rydnik (friend of Vladimir Yakovlev, former governor of St. Petersburg). Kekhman now plans to build on this site a business center. It is assumed that the complex will be rented out at rates of class A +, that is the most expensive one in the city. According to experts, Kehmanu will have to invest at least $ 100 million in the project. But Kehmanu will hardly get permission to demolish this building - it is too momentous to Leningrad, the city committee and regional committee of Komsomol used to be placed there.
Source: www.restate.ru on 24/08/2009
In 2009, in St. Petersburg started the so-called "Banana war", launched by Mr. Kekhman by saying that he suspected his main competitors of a deliberate bankruptcy — those were the importers and producers of fruits and vegetables in Russia: the company "Sorus", and "Sunway". In particular, Kekhman wrote a statement addressed to the Russia's Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, and the presidential envoy in NWFD Ilya Klebanov, and asked them to verify the existence of some violations by the firm "Sunway", that were consistent with such serious articles of the Criminal Code as "fraud" and "fictive bankruptcy». Kekhman pointed to the suspiciouse facts, from his point of view, such as: after the media reported the elimination of LLC "Sunway Group» and ceasing shipments of fruit, all the contracts for the supply of goods began to be signed with a new legal entity - LLC" Fruttoriya». A creditor banks (among which there were Sberbank, VTB, Alfabank, Rosbank, and Raiffeisen Bank) stopped receiving payments issued under "Sunway" loans. Kekhman called all the happened a dangerous situation, as the reputation of the whole industry was suffering. In its turn, "Sunway" considered the actions by Kekhman as "moments of competition". In fact, Kekhman offered buying his business several times to the principle holder of "Sunway" Shalmi Beniaminov, but the latter refused each time. After Benjamin had refused him one more time, Kekhman sent a statement to the prosecutor.
Source: "Kommersant", 231 (4286) on 10.12.2009, "Business Petersburg» 74 (2886) from 27.04.2009
Vladimir Kekhman has common business interests with notorious St. Petersburg entrepreneur Aleksandr Ebralidze. In authoritative circles Ebralidze is better known as Alik-market, in the 90's he controlled Kondratyevskiy market together with his brothers Mirilashvili. Main partner of Ebralidze in the 2000's has been St. Petersburg-American Jacob Barsky. Their joint creation - JSC "Talion", a flagship of the hotel, club and until recently gambling business in Petersburg. The board of directors "Talion" includes Vladimir Kekhman, as well as capital oligarch Boris Hait - president of the insurance group "Spassky gates".
Source: "Our Version on the Neva", ? 104 from November 30-December 6, 2009