Co-owner of Gazprom subsidiary company charged with attempted murder 

Co-owner of Gazprom subsidiary company charged with attempted murder
Why would Vladimir Tumaev plot a murder? Photo: The CrimeRussia

The arrest of Vladimir Tumaev, member of the Board of Directors of Gazprom Spetsazavtotrans (a subsidiary company of Gazprom), on suspicion of plotting a contract killing became a surprise for many people. The 71-year-old businessman, football player, and singer had always seemed to be a reasonable person able to solve any issue within the legal boundaries. The respectable man became a suspect in a criminal case because of his former son-in-law Vadim Chernov and his business partner who used to run a joint business with Tumaev a few years ago.

The conflict in the former Tumaev-Chernov family has been continuing for some five years already. The battles for assets were taking place in the arbitration court – so nobody, except for the opponents, was directly involved into this confrontation. But then one of the parties decided to use a criminal way to resolve the long-standing conflict. It can’t be ruled out that, initially, everybody had planned to live a long and happy family life. But after the family breakdown, the former partners started dividing the once-joint business.

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Vladimir Tumaev, member of the Board of Directors of Gazprom Spetsazavtotrans

56-year-old Vadim Styazhkin, Director of Izhevsk-based Legat Law Firm and business partner of Vadim Chernov, became a victim of this carve-up. He had represented the interests of Chernov and his own interests in legal disputes with the Tumaev family. On March 15, 2017, the businessman was attacked in the lobby of a residential home accommodating the office of Legat. Two unknown assailants have beaten Styazhkin with metal rods targeting his head and wounded him with a traumatic pistol. A criminal case was instituted under Article 213 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (hooliganism). This year, the case has been resumed under part 2 of Article 213 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (hooliganism committed by a group of persons by previous concert) and then reclassified into an attempted murder for hire committed by a group of persons by previous concert. Shortly after the attack, Styazhkin told the investigation that somebody had tried to kill him as per instructions from Vladimir Tumaev. This supposition has been confirmed after the arrest of the assailants – residents of Moscow.

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Vladimir Tumaev during the court session held to determine his pretrial restrictions

After their confession that the order to attack Styazhkin was received directly from Tumaev, who had also provided the weapons to them, the investigation has decided to lay charges against the businessman and detain him. However, his attorney considers this a farce and claims that it is irrelevant to speak about a murder in the absence of a dead body. In addition, the lawyer believes that the investigation is primarily concerned not about the establishment of the truth – but about the promotion of the Investigations Directorate in the Udmurt Republic of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) and its head Vladimir Nikeshkin: it is a rare piece of luck to institute a criminal case under such a grievous Article of the Criminal Code with such a famous – both in the region and outside it – primary suspect. 

Our
notes

Vladimir Tumaev is a Russian businessman, founder and President of Soyuz-Gazprom Football Club, and prominent specialist in capital repairs of main gas pipelines.

Since 1984 to April 2009, was the Head of Spetsazavtotrans Open Joint Stock Company, a subsidiary of Gazprom Open Joint Stock Company (Spetsazavtotrans Public Joint Stock Company). Currently is a member of the Board of Directors of Spetsazavtotrans and owner of 12.68% of its charter capital.

In 2009–2013, was a Deputy Director of Spetsstroygaz Limited Liability Company.

Since 2013, has been a department chairman at the Kama Institute of Humanitarian and Engineering Technologies Non-Governmental Higher Professional Education Institution.

Tumaev is the General Director and owner of SportParkSem’ya-Tumaev Fitness Center Limited Liability Company; Director of Dizol Limited Liability Company, Montazhpostavka Limited Liability Company, PM Investment Limited Liability Company, and Udmurt Regional Branch of the Sports Russia Voluntary Organization All-Russia Public Organization Limited Liability Company.

In 2005, earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest professional football player of Russia. Became a player at an age of 43 and retired at 58. Played as a forward for Gazovik since 1992 and until 2005; scored 9 goals in 119 games.

The investigation believes that Vladimir Tumaev started expressing a criminal interest to Vadim Styazhkin two years ago. In that period, the victim’s office was set on fire, his wife’s car damaged by some unknown persons, and two attacks were committed against the lawyer – although without such severe consequences as in March 2017. The assailants that had committed these two attacks could not be found until the receipt of confessions from the Moscow attackers. However, Styazhkin had no doubts from the very beginning that all his ‘troubles’ were orchestrated by Tumaev. According to the lawyer, the former General Director of Spetsazavtotrans had repeatedly threatened him with bodily harm and murder.

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Vladimir Tumaev's former son-in-law Vadim Chernov

So, what was the matter of the dispute between the two Izhevsk businessmen? Reportedly, one of the reasons behind the conflict was a credit in the amount 14 million rubles ($250.3 thousand). However, generally speaking, this story is about people who have severed family ties and started destroying each other’s business and framing-up their former partners. No one in Izhevsk has doubts that this confrontation is underlain by a personal conflict between Vladimir Tumaev and his former son-in-law Vadim Chernov. After the exclusion of Chernov from clan Tumaev, Vladimir Tumaev has done everything possible to drive out his former son-in-law and his relatives from all their family businesses. For instance, well-known in the Udmurt capital Sem’ya (Family) Fitness Center had been managed by SportParkSem’ya Fitness Center Limited Liability Company belonging 20% to Vadim Chernov’s brother Aleksei and 80% – to Natalia Chernova (nee Tumaeva). By now, the organization has been liquidated. Another legal entity, SportParkSem’ya-Tumaev Fitness Center Limited Liability Company, belonging 100% to Vladimir Tumaev has been established to manage the sports complex.

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Vladimir Tumaev and Vadim Chernov once used to be a family

The story that has nearly led to the death of Vadim Styazhkin has begun in 2013. At that time, Vadim Chernov, then-son-in-law of Vladimir Tumaev, and his brother Aleksei have established Stolichny Limited Liability Company. The company started building Cheshskaya Derevnya (Czech Village) cottage community near Starye Kenty village by an order of Tamara Tumaeva, wife of Vladimir Tumaev, on the land belonging to her. For that purpose, newly-established Stolichny Limited Liability Company has easily secured a loan in the amount of 14 million rubles ($250.3 thousand) in Bystrobank Open Joint Stock Company. Vadim Chernov and his business partner Vadim Styazhkin, Director of Legat Law Firm, had acted as the guarantors. But next year, Chernov has divorced Tumaev’s daughter Natalia. The family business seized to be ‘family’ and started bringing troubles. In the beginning of the divorce proceedings, Vladimir Tumaev has purchased from the bank the right to claim the debt of Stolichny because his daughter’s assets were pledged as the loan security and filed a lawsuit to recover the debt from the two guarantors. The court has partially satisfied the plaintiff’s claim in the amount of 8.5 million rubles ($152 thousand). It is necessary to note that upon obtaining an execution writ, Tumaev started collecting the debt only from Styazhkin.

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Natalia Chernova (nee Tumaeva)

In response to the actions of Tumaev, Stolichny Limited Liability Company, represented in court by Vadim Styazhkin, has filed in 2014 lawsuits against Individual Entrepreneur V.A. Tumaev and Individual Entrepreneur T.G. Tumaeva to recover monetary funds in the amount over 4.2 million rubles ($75.5 thousand). The both claims stated that Stolichny Limited Liability Company had transferred payments for construction materials to the defendants but never received the materials. However, the Tumaev family has proved in court the opposite – the construction materials were supplied and accepted by the client. A witness – senior accountant working concurrently for the Tumaev family and Stolichny Limited Liability Company – has confirmed this. The witness has proved documentarily that she had transferred the money and received the materials against the consignment bills. As a result, the court has dismissed both claims and satisfied a counterclaim in the amount over 2.1 million rubles ($37.7 thousand) filed by Tamara Tumaeva against Stolichny Limited Liability Company to recover money for supplied by but yet-unpaid materials. In other words, not only has the company belonging to Vadim Chernov failed to collect money from the Tumaev family, but ended up with a debt to it. Interestingly, the accountant working concurrently for the Tumaev family and Stolichny was Elena Lomaeva, wife of Anatoly Lomaev, Director of Stolichny Limited Liability Company. At one of the court sessions, he had wondered why the real situation was so different from the one recorded in the documents and noted that he “can not explain whether such goods were supplied or not”. “The senior accountant must control the delivery of goods to the very end. No financial liability agreements were signed with the senior accountant. It was a family business; all the relations were based on trust; no one had checked or controlled others,” – Lomaev added and emphasized that he has seen the consignment bills for the first time only after filing the lawsuit and submission of the statement of defense by the defendant. After the severance of family ties between Vadim Chernov and the Tumaev family, the trust has ended as well – ultimately resulting in mutual financial claims and criminal charges laid against the head of clan Tumaev. It is necessary to add that during the above litigation, Lomaev has submitted a criminal complaint to the police claiming that Vladimir Tumaev threatens him with bodily harm. However, after a preliminary investigation, a refusal to initiate criminal proceedings has been issued because the verbal threats of Tumaev were not supported by real actions.

Concurrently with that litigation, Vadim Styazhkin has won a payout in the amount of 1.1 million rubles ($19.8 thousand) against Tamara Tumaeva. The skilled lawyer managed to prove that the woman had illegally used other people’s funds. According to his claim, following a request from Tumaeva back in 2013, Styazhkin has paid from his personal bank account an invoice issued to her for the acquisition of construction materials from Izhevsk Construction Materials Plant Limited Liability Company. Shortly after that, Tumaeva has cancelled that deal and never repaid the money to Styazhkin. After that procedural victory, threats to Styazhkin have begun; their number was growing with the number of cases won by the lawyer. The first serious incident involving material losses has occurred in that period – the office of Styazhkin was set on fire. The arsonists were never found. This incident was beneficial for clan Tumaev: the family has taken advantage of the fire that had destroyed original documents confirming the acquisition of an office in Moscow from PM Investment Limited Liability Company belonging to Tumaev and collected the cost of the office from Styazhkin for the second time.

In that period, another lawsuit was filed on behalf of Stolichny Limited Liability Company to collect from Tamara Tumaeva debts under contracts pertaining to the cottage community construction: since May 2013, the customer stopped paying for the performed works. This claim was dismissed by the court as well – it was found that the works had been performed not by Stolichny, but by Metallurg Montazh Limited Liability Company.

By that time, Stolichny Limited Liability Company started experiencing internal problems: its employees hadn’t received salaries for a year and complained to all the instances. Only after taking a legal action, the salary arrears have been paid out. The company was declared bankrupt in May 2016. Two months later, the insolvency administrator has received a request to include into the list of creditors' claims the financial demands of Vladimir Tumaev totaling over 10.7 million rubles ($192.3 thousand) (apparently, this sum included the financial liabilities purchased from Bystrobank). Concurrently, the former partners were filing more and more lawsuits with arbitration courts accusing each other in public of ruining a perspective construction business. According to the defense attorney for Vadim Styazhkin, his client has paid off his portion of the debt as a guarantor – but this hasn’t put an end to the confrontation.

To recover a portion of the funds, Styazhkin has purchased from Metallurg Montazh Limited Liability Company the right to claim a debt from Tamara Tumaeva; the court has satisfied his claim. In the meantime, attorneys for Tumaev tried to declare contracts under which Styazhkin has collected a debt from his wife null and void – but in vain. In the course of these legal battles, another serious incident involving Styazhkin has occurred.

In October 2016, Vladimir Tumaev has publicly demonstrated the former business partner his powers and connections in the municipal law enforcement structures.

Under the pretext of making a settlement agreement, the businessman has invited his opponent to Kofe Sem’ (Coffee Seven) cafe. During their conversation, operatives of the Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) for the Udmurt Republic and National Guard of Russia have entered the cafe (records of the security cameras confirm this), handcuffed Styazhkin, and arrested him. The handcuffs were removed only after the arrival of the attorney for Styazhkin to the cafe. No detention report was produced. After spending several hours in the police station, the detainee was released. However, the Director of Legat refused to follow this direct hint and continued his struggle against structures belonging to the respected Izhevsk businessman.

On March 7, 2017, Styazhkin has filed with the bailiffs service an execution writ to collect money from Tamara Tumaeva in accordance with a court verdict satisfying the claim of Metallurg Montazh Limited Liability Company. A week later, on March 15, 2017, Styazhkin was nearly killed near his office. According to the victim, the main motive behind the failed contract killing were significant costs accrued during the 4 years of litigation ultimately lost by Tumaev.

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Tumaev is known as a football player... 

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...and a singer

Vladimir Tumaev, who has been charged with masterminding this crime, denies any guilt. He is to spend the next two months under home arrest. The defense for Styazhkin intends to appeal this court decision. “Home arrest for an assassin’s paymaster is a joke. The victim has real reasons to fear because in the past, all the threats, attacks, and damages to the victim’s property had occurred either during the litigation or after the losses of Tumaev. The victim has filed a claim to institute recovery proceedings against the pledged security because earlier the victim has paid Tumavev as a guarantor for Stolichny Limited Liability Company. Tumaev’s daughter Natalia acts as a pledge giver for that security. Therefore, there is every reason to expect certain actions from Tumaev,” – says Evgeny Novoselov, an attorney for Styazhkin.

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