Against interests of powerful owners: why attempted takeover of Inskoy Pit failed? 

Against interests of powerful owners: why attempted takeover of Inskoy Pit failed?
Governor Aman Tuleev hasn’t abandoned his people and called extortion accusations against them absurd

On November 14, 2016, searches had been performed in homes and offices of some Kemerovo officials; by the end of the week, eight suspects in this criminal case have been charged under Article 163 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Extortion for the purpose of obtaining property on an especially large scale). Six suspects have been put under home arrest for the duration of the investigation: Aleksander Shukin, coal magnate listed in the Forbes rating; Aleksey Ivanov and Aleksander Danilchenko, Deputies of Governor Tuleev; Yelena Troitskaya, Head of the Department of Administrative Structures of the Administration of the Kemerovo Region; and Sergey Kryukov and Artemy Shevelev, officers of the Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) for the Kemerovo Region; the two remaining suspects have been sent to a pretrial detention facility: Gennady Vernigor, confidant of businessman Shukin, and Sergey Kalinkin, Head of the ICR Investigations Directorate for the Kemerovo Region. Sergey Kalinkin has also been removed from his position.

At the first glance, the suspects in this criminal case have nothing to do with each other. Especially taking that the case is related to a small and currently-unprofitable coal enterprise – due to engineering errors, the pit hadn’t been mining coal for almost 1.5 year, which resulted in multimillion salary arrears and credit indebtedness. This summer, the creditors had made several attempts to drive the Inskoy pit to bankruptcy. However, the uncovering of some details in the share extortion scheme has allowed to sort the things out. The key figure in this multi-step machination was businessman Aleksander Shukin; the events have started on July 8, 2016, when the miners, outraged with a four-month salary delay, refused to descend underground. There was a risk that the whole mine joins the crew on strike – and the Kuzbass remembers very well potential implications of miners’ strikes. The ‘rail wars’ of 1998, when the miners had, in fact, paralyzed the railway transportation in the country and almost managed to impeach President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Kiriyenko, would never be forgotten. In order to ease the social tension and assist the owners with debt repayment, functionaries of the Regional Administration have arrived to the Inskoy pit. The Regional Prosecutor’s Office has initiated a criminal case due to the non-payment of salaries.

Businessman Aleksander Shukin has become aware of the situation promptly. One of his coal mines – Gramoteinskaya – was located in the same Belovsky district with the Inskoy pit. Following a request from the Regional Administration, technical specialists from the Gramoteinskaya mine had been dispatched to the pit to assist in fracturing the coal bed in order to commence mining operations. Announcements that Shukin has started negotiations with the mine owners to purchase the enterprise appeared in the media.

The methods used to secure this purchase have become known only recently, at the open court sessions determining pretrial restrictions for the suspects.

Raiding takeover in ICR offices

Approximately a month prior to the miners’ unrest at the pit, a criminal case has been initiated in the Belovsky district against lawyer Anton Tsygankov, nominee owner of 51% of shares in Razrez Inskoy (Inskoy Pit) Joint Stock Company, due to the non-payment of salaries. Three days after the beginning of the strike, businessman Aleksander Shukin has become aware of the situation. He had telephone conversations with Sergey Kalinkin, Head of the ICR Investigations Directorate for the Kemerovo Region, and Vice Governor Aleksey Ivanov. The businessman has found out from these conversations that the salary arrears were expected to be paid out by Miloserdie (Mercy) Fund – to which a company belonging to Shukin had yesterday transferred 50 million rubles – and Shukin “decided to seize control over Razrez Inskoy Joint Stock Company”.

Калинкин

Sergey Kalinkin, Head of the ICR Investigations Directorate for the Kemerovo Region  

On the same day, Kalinkin has withdrawn the criminal case against Anton Tsygankov from the ICR subdivision in the Belovsky district and transferred it for further investigation to Artemy Shevelev, Senior Investigator of the Second Department for Investigation of Special Cases of the ICR Investigations Directorate for the Kemerovo Region. General Kalinkin has given to the coal magnate his consent “to arrange an illegal detention” of Anton Tsygankov, owner of the control block of shares, and Shukin told Vice Governor Aleksey Ivanov that the Inskoy pit should be seized under the pretence of searches for an investor to pay out the salary arrears. According to the investigation, other functionaries and enforcement officers have later been engaged into the plot to seize the shares, and criminal roles have been distributed among them. For example, in order to detain Tsygankov, Shevelev has initiated a criminal case against him under part 2 of Article 201 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Abuse of authority, which has involved grave consequences). The owner of the control block of shares has been arrested as a suspect and escorted on July 12, 2016 from a temporary detention center to the Investigations Directorate for the Kemerovo Region – directly to Senior Investigator Shevelev.

Цыганков

Anton Tsygankov, owner of the control block of shares 

According to the investigation, Kalinkin, Kryukov, and Shevelev have arranged a meeting between Ivanov, Danilchenko, and Troitskaya from one side and Tsygankov from the other side; at that meeting, the suspects have demanded his share in the enterprise worth 1 billion rubles. Fearful to be arrested, Tsygankov agreed. Ivanov has notified Shukin by cell phone about the consent of Tsygankov to transfer the control block of shares. Vernigor (a confidant of Shukin) arrived to the Investigations Directorate and met with Tsygankov. He offered Tsygankov to issue a power of attorney for further actions. Following an invitation from Elena Troitskaya, notary Olga Vernova arrived to the Investigations Directorate to complete the documents. The power of attorney had been produced, and Vernigor has transferred the shares of Tsygankov to some mister Isaikin. Upon completion of these operations, Tsygankov has been released. Therefore, a bloodless raiding takeover has been performed with assistance from governmental officials. However, ultimately it has resulted in an epic failure – due to certain reasons addressed below.

By a wish of Shukin

Overall, this takeover was pretty consistent with the general scheme established in the region: assets have been redistributed for the benefit of businesses loyal to and profitable for the authorities. Since the ‘turbulent 1990s’, there were two principal ways to redistribute business assets in the Kuzbass (and country-wide as well) – involving authorities and without involvement of authorities. The second way was used either for insignificant (and therefore not interesting for the region) enterprises, or for key assets lucrative for powerful criminal groups striving to make their way into the legal business using illegal methods (blackmailing, kidnapping, contract killings, etc.). During the period of lawlessness, the authorities preferred not to interfere into such affairs. However, such industries as coal and metallurgy could belong only to structures allied with the authorities. Businessmen unable to settle the issues or openly confronting the authorities had been kicked out of the market. Many people in the region still remember the war against brothers Zhivilo and their MIKOM company. Initially, when the businessmen had just arrived to the Kuzbass in the beginning of the 1990s, Aman Tuleev – not elected the Governor yet – was their ally. But in the end of the 1990s, MIKOM Investment Company was declared an enemy because, according to the authorities in power, its methods of managing subsidiary companies had a sole purpose: siphoning funds out of the region. By that time, Tuleev has got more powerful allies interested in the Kuzbass coal and metal. The confrontation involved not only smear campaigns – brothers Zhivilo, driven out of the region, had even organized a failed assassination attempt against Tuleev. There are plenty of similar – although not so high-profile – episodes in the modern Kuzbass history, involving redistribution of assets between people important for the region.

Our
notes

Aleksander Shukin was born on November 26, 1950 in the town of Osinki of the Kemerovo region. In 1985, graduated from the Moscow State Mining University. Since 1994, was the owner of the Polosukhinskaya mine; in 1999, has transferred it to Sibuglemet Holding Company and became its shareholder; in 2003, became its Vice President. In 2010, has left the joint business due to a conflict with partners and withdrawn the Polosukhinskaya mine. In January 2013, has become a founder of Ugol (Coal) Production and Trading Company Limited Liability Company. In December 2013, acquired the Gramoteinskaya and Tagaryshskaya mines. Owns Zapsibugol Group of Companies and some other ventures, including a construction company and a group of car dealerships in Novokuznetsk and Kemerovo. Some Shukin’s companies specializing in this sphere has been already closed, including Bayern Car (former official BMW dealer in Kemerovo), NVK Motors (former official BMW dealer in Novokuznetsk), – while Grand Motors (official Renault dealer in Kemerovo) has got a direct competitor. Assets of Shukin include a share in Novokuznetsk Commercial Innovation Bank (20.5%). Forbes has valued Shukin the 195th richest businessman in Russia; his fortune is $0.4 billion.    
 

So, why is (or was until the recent events) businessman Shukin so important for the Kuzbass? Despite the scandals and criminal cases involving the oligarch, he is still considered a crucial figure in the region. The point is that the regional authorities expect Shukin to pay out debts of the Yurginsky Engineering Plant. In August 2016, the businessman has acquired controlling blocks of shares in Zarechnaya Coal Mine Company Limited Liability Company and Yurginsky Engineering Plant Limited Liability Company. The Kuzbass Governor has noted in his comment that Aleksander Shukin had gained 50% portfolios of shares in both legal entities plus their ‘gold shares’ as per his agreement with Uralvagonzavod. The Yurginsky Engineering Plant has been given to Shukin as a ‘supplement’. Aman Tuleev has expressed a hope that the coal mining enterprises belonging to Shukin would order equipment at the Yurginsky Engineering Plant – which should get the principal employer of an entire town out of a multiyear crisis. Prior to Shukin, the assets of Zarechnaya Coal Mine Company had been offered to Siberian Business Union Holding Company and Kuzbassrazrezugol – but they have declined the offer. According to well-informed sources, investors were not happy with debts of Zarechnaya amounting to dozens of billions of rubles and numerous errors in the deposits assessment, mining technologies, and company management – which have made it chronically profitless. The Yurginsky Engineering Plant was not of interest for large regional businesses as well – therefore, after the consent of Shukin to invest money into the local engineering production, the Governor’s team has ‘closed eyes’ on his – not flawless at all – biography.

Щукин

Businessman Aleksander Shukin 

The methods used sometimes by Shukin to expand his business are pretty consistent with those used to seize the Inskoy pit. Aleksander Shukin owns several coal enterprises in the Kuzbass. His Gramoteinskaya and Polosukhinskaya mines are located close to the Inskoy pit. The businessman has appropriated the Gramoteinskaya mine under similar circumstances. In October 2013, EvrazGroup had sold Shakhta Gramoteinskaya Limited Liability Company to London-based Lehram Capital Investments Ltd. for only 10 thousand rubles. The mine was not operational due to a fire that had occurred in November 2012, and the new owner tried to restore its work. But in the end of 2013, the Kuzbass authorities have expressed their dissatisfaction with salary arrears at the mine. Aman Tuleev announced that Aleksander Shukin has become the new owner of the mine. By the way, the legal battles between Shukin and the British company for the Gramoteinskaya mine are still ongoing.

Failure in a smoothly-running scheme

So why the takeover of the Inskoy pit was not as smooth as usually? Both the business and authorities had extensive experience in such operations… Sergey Kalinkin, now-former Head of the ICR Investigations Directorate for the Kemerovo Region, has provided an explanation during the court session determining pretrial restrictions for him. 

The above-mentioned raiding takeover techniques were widely used by high-ranked governmental functionaries – but this time they have chosen a wrong target for these techniques. 

According to some sources, Shukin was the first to realize his error during a trip to Moscow to prepare the documentation and meet with other owners of the enterprise. At a press conference held on the next day after the arrest of the eight suspects, Governor Tuleev told that Shukin has returned to the Kuzbass pale and scared, torn all papers, cancelled all arrangements related to the acquisition of the Inskoy pit, and called back all his specialists from the enterprise. 

Shukin was scared due to a major strategic blunder: somehow, now one in the region had bothered to find out: who stands behind humble, obscure lawyer Tsygankov – owner of the control block of shares in the disputed enterprise? Apparently, the power brokers were so confident in the legitimacy of their intentions and actions that they have forgotten that somebody might disagree with them. Furthermore, this ‘somebody’ might have even more powers and levers than they do.

Юшваев и Якобашвили

Gavriil Yushvaev and David Yakobashvili 

The troubles could be easily prevented by checking the names of the pit owners. For example, 30% of the Inskoy pit belong to a Swedish citizen David Yakobashvili, a partner and relative of Gavriil Yushvaev (also known in certain circles as criminal authority ‘Garik Makhachkala’). Back in 2014, information on Yushvaev’s interests in the Kemerovo region was already available in the Internet. Promuglesbyt Management Company Limited Liability Company, where the businessmen owned 39% each, was a major industrial project of Yushvaev and Yakobashvili. Ilia Gavrilov, owner of the Federal Depository Bank, and Wimm Bill Dann shareholders have established this company in 2001; its assets included two coal mining enterprises: the Kolmogorovskaya-2 mine and Razrez Inskoy (Inskoy Pit) mine. Their production in 2013 was some 3 million tons of power-generating coal. Both mines had been considered perspective at that time; according to the owners, they would consider sale of this profitable asset only upon reaching the production level of 10 million tons per year. Currently the Kolmogorovskaya-2 mine is on the verge of bankruptcy. Should the security service of Shukin dig a little bit deeper, they could find out that Yushvaev, as a private individual, is financing the small Kuzbass-based enterprise Razrez Inskoy through credits, thus, saving it from bankruptcy. Henchmen of Shukin could try to buy the mine to get oligarch Yushvaev out of the coal business. But now it is unlikely that Yushvaev would ever forgive what had been done – especially, so rudely.

Our
notes

Gavriil Yushvaev was born in 1957 in Makhachkala. He is the 68th richest person in Russia; his fortune has been estimated at $1.1 billion. In 1980, was sentenced to 9 years behind bars for robbery. Upon release in 1989, has engaged into business – jointly with partner David Yakobashvili (sponsored the ‘guard’ of Zakhary Kalashov); was involved into gambling business, car sales (founded Trinity Car Dealership), and advertisement. In 1993, jointly with partner Yakobashvili, has invested funds into a juice bottling project on the Lianozovo Diary Plant. This was the beginning of Wimm Bill Dann. A member of boards of directors in the following agricultural and real estate companies: RusAgroProject CJSC, Agrocomplex Gorki-2 CJSC, Eisk Port Elevator OJSC, and Cattle Farm Naroosanovsky OJSC.   

According to some sources, this summer, a functionary from the federal ICR had visited the Investigations Directorate for the Kemerovo Region with inspection and recommended Kalinkin to leave Tsygankov alone and abandon this game. Apparently, the advice hasn’t been followed. 

Kalinkin has also attempted to address Alexander Bastrykin, Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, via media and told the journalists about links between some officers in the federal ICR and billionaire Yushvaev. He stated that all the recent events, including searches and arrests, are a purposeful attack on Aleksander Shukin and his business – while the other seven suspects are just a crowd to create an illusion of a criminal group. General Kalinkin asked to assign trusted officers able to sort out the situation. “It is crucial that the check is performed by officers who had never been working on the North Caucasus and were not subordinates to Ilia Lazutov, Deputy Chairman of the ICR. Because currently the mine is funded by some individual through personal loans. If you check the Internet, this person had been earlier convicted for robbery. Now he is a very rich person, owns ships and everything. Listed in the Forbes top ten or top hundred. His is a Dagestani by nationality. Ilia Valerievich Lazutov had been serving on the North Caucasus for a long time, and the case against me was initiated by him,” – Sergey Kalinkin expressed his wish in the court. In response, Bastrykin has dismissed the detained subordinate.

Данильченко и Иванов

Aleksander Danilchenko and Aleksey Ivanov, Vice Governors of the Kemerovo Region 

But Governor Tuleev hasn’t abandoned his people and called extortion accusations against the functionaries absurd. Not a single detained official of the Regional Administration was dismissed. None of them admits the guilt.

The investigation has to find out which party is guilty in this big game around a small mine. And time will show whether this high-profile scandal would affect the career of Aman Tuleev. In the first days after the arrests, many experts used such expressions as ‘the end of the epoch’ – but now the forecasts are much more cautious. The positions of the ‘perpetual’ Kuzbass Governor are still pretty sound. The businessman Aleksander Shukin has become aware of the situation promptly. One of his coal mines – Gramoteinskaya – was located in the same Belovsky district with the Inskoy pit. Following a request from the Regional Administration, technical specialists from the Gramoteinskaya mine had been dispatched to the pit to assist in fracturing the coal bed in order to commence mining operations. Announcements that Shukin has started negotiations with the mine owners to purchase the enterprise appeared in the media. 

The methods used to secure this purchase have become known only recently, at the open court sessions determining pretrial restrictions for the suspects.

Raiding takeover in ICR offices

Approximately a month prior to the miners’ unrest at the pit, a criminal case has been initiated in the Belovsky district against lawyer Anton Tsygankov, a nominee owner of 51% of shares in Razrez Inskoy (Inskoy Pit) Joint Stock Company, due to the non-payment of salaries. Three days after the beginning of the strike, businessman Aleksander Shukin has become aware of the situation. He had telephone conversations with Sergey Kalinkin, the Head of the Investigations Directorate of the ICR in the Kemerovo Region, and the Vice Governor Aleksey Ivanov. The businessman has found out from these conversations that the salary arrears were expected to be paid out by Miloserdie (Mercy) Fund – to which a company belonging to Shukin had yesterday transferred 50 million rubles – and Shukin “decided to seize control over Razrez Inskoy Joint Stock Company”.

Калинкин

Sergey Kalinkin, the ICR Head of the Investigations Directorate in the Kemerovo Region 

On the same day, Kalinkin has withdrawn the criminal case against Anton Tsygankov from the ICR subdivision in the Belovsky district and transferred it for further investigation to Artemy Shevelev, the Senior Investigator of the Second Department for Investigation of Special Cases of the Investigations Directorate of the ICR in the Kemerovo Region. The General Kalinkin has given to the coal magnate his consent “to arrange an illegal detention” of Anton Tsygankov, owner of the control block of shares, and Shukin told Vice Governor Aleksey Ivanov that the Inskoy pit should be seized under the pretence of searches for an investor to pay out the salary arrears. According to the investigation, other functionaries and enforcement officers have later been engaged into the plot to seize the shares, and criminal roles have been distributed among them. For example, in order to detain Tsygankov, Shevelev has initiated a criminal case against him under part 2 of Article 201 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Abuse of Authority, which has involved grave consequences). The owner of the control block of shares has been arrested as a suspect and escorted on July 12, 2016 from a temporary detention center to the Investigations Directorate in the Kemerovo Region – directly to the Senior Investigator Shevelev.

Цыганков

Anton Tsygankov, owner of the control block of shares 

According to the investigation, Kalinkin, Kryukov, and Shevelev have arranged a meeting between Ivanov, Danilchenko, and Troitskaya from one side and Tsygankov from the other side; at that meeting, the suspects have demanded his share in the enterprise worth 1 billion rubles. Fearful to be arrested, Tsygankov agreed. Ivanov has notified Shukin by cell phone about the consent of Tsygankov to transfer the control block of shares. Vernigor (a confidant of Shukin) arrived to the Investigations Directorate and met with Tsygankov. He offered Tsygankov to issue a power of attorney for further actions. Following an invitation from Elena Troitskaya, a notary Olga Vernova arrived to the Investigations Directorate to complete the documents. The power of attorney had been produced, and Vernigor has transferred the shares of Tsygankov to some mister Isaikin. Upon completion of these operations, Tsygankov has been released. Therefore, a bloodless raiding takeover has been performed with assistance from governmental officials. However, ultimately it has resulted in an epic failure – due to certain reasons addressed below.

By a wish of Shukin

Overall, this takeover was pretty consistent with the general scheme established in the region: assets have been redistributed for the benefit of businesses loyal to and profitable for the authorities. Since the turbulent 1990s, there were two principal ways to redistribute business assets in the Kuzbass (and country-wide as well) – involving authorities and without involvement of authorities. The second way was used either for insignificant (and therefore not interesting for the region) enterprises, or for key assets lucrative for powerful criminal groups striving to make their way into the legal business using illegal methods (blackmailing, kidnapping, contract killings, etc.). During the period of lawlessness, the authorities preferred not to interfere into such affairs. However, such industries as coal and metallurgy could belong only to structures allied with the authorities. Businessmen unable to settle the issues or openly confronting the authorities had been kicked out of the market. Many people in the region still remember the war against brothers Zhivilo and their MIKOM company. Initially, when the businessmen had just arrived to the Kuzbass in the beginning of the 1990s, Aman Tuleev – not elected the Governor yet – was their ally. But in the end of the 1990s, MIKOM Investment Company was declared an enemy because, according to the authorities in power, its methods of managing subsidiary companies had a sole purpose: siphoning funds out of the region. By that time, Tuleev has got more powerful allies interested in the Kuzbass coal and metal. The confrontation involved not only smear campaigns – brothers Zhivilo, driven out of the region, had even organized a failed assassination attempt against Tuleev. There are plenty of similar – although not so high-profile – episodes in the modern Kuzbass history, involving redistribution of assets between people important for the region.

Our
notes

Aleksander Shukin was born on November 26, 1950 in the town of Osinki of the Kemerovo region. In 1985, graduated from the Moscow State Mining University. Since 1994, he was the owner of the Polosukhinskaya mine; in 1999, has transferred it to Sibuglemet Holding Company and became its shareholder; in 2003, became its Vice President. In 2010, has left the joint business due to a conflict with partners and withdrawn the Polosukhinskaya mine. In January 2013, has become a founder of Ugol (Coal) Production and Trading Company Limited Liability Company. In December 2013, acquired the Gramoteinskaya and Tagaryshskaya mines. Owns Zapsibugol Group of Companies and some other ventures, including a construction company and a group of car dealerships in Novokuznetsk and Kemerovo. Some Shukin’s companies specializing in this sphere has been already closed, including Bayern Car (the former official BMW dealer in Kemerovo), NVK Motors (former official BMW dealer in Novokuznetsk), – while Grand Motors (official Renault dealer in Kemerovo) has got a direct competitor. Assets of Shukin include a share in Novokuznetsk Commercial Innovation Bank (20.5%). Forbes has valued Shukin the 195th richest businessman in Russia; his fortune is $0.4 billion.

So, why is (or was until the recent events) businessman Shukin so important for the Kuzbass? Despite the scandals and criminal cases involving the oligarch, he is still considered a crucial figure in the region. The point is that the regional authorities expect Shukin to pay out debts of the Yurginsky Engineering Plant. In August 2016, the businessman has acquired controlling blocks of shares in Zarechnaya Coal Mine Company Limited Liability Company and Yurginsky Engineering Plant Limited Liability Company. The Kuzbass Governor has noted in his comment that Aleksander Shukin had gained 50% portfolios of shares in both legal entities plus their gold shares as per his agreement with Uralvagonzavod. The Yurginsky Engineering Plant has been given to Shukin as a supplement. Aman Tuleev has expressed a hope that the coal mining enterprises belonging to Shukin would order equipment at the Yurginsky Engineering Plant – which should get the principal employer of an entire town out of a multiyear crisis. Prior to Shukin, the assets of Zarechnaya Coal Mine Company had been offered to Siberian Business Union Holding Company and Kuzbassrazrezugol – but they have declined the offer. According to well-informed sources, investors were not happy with debts of Zarechnaya amounting to dozens of billions of rubles and numerous errors in the deposits assessment, mining technologies, and company management – which have made it chronically profitless. The Yurginsky Engineering Plant was not of interest for large regional businesses as well – therefore, after the consent of Shukin to invest money into the local engineering production, the Governor’s team has closed eyes on his – not flawless at all – biography.

Щукин

Businessman Aleksander Shukin 

The methods used sometimes by Shukin to expand his business are pretty consistent with those used to seize the Inskoy pit. Aleksander Shukin owns several coal enterprises in the Kuzbass. His Gramoteinskaya and Polosukhinskaya mines are located close to the Inskoy pit. The businessman has appropriated the Gramoteinskaya mine under similar circumstances. In October 2013, EvrazGroup had sold Shakhta Gramoteinskaya Limited Liability Company to London-based Lehram Capital Investments Ltd. for only 10 thousand rubles. The mine was not operational due to a fire that had occurred in November 2012, and the new owner tried to restore its work. But in the end of 2013, the Kuzbass authorities have expressed their dissatisfaction with salary arrears at the mine. Aman Tuleev announced that Aleksander Shukin has become the new owner of the mine. By the way, the legal battles between Shukin and the British company for the Gramoteinskaya mine are still ongoing.

Failure in a smoothly-running scheme

So why the takeover of the Inskoy pit was not as smooth as usually? Both the business and authorities had extensive experience in such operations… Sergey Kalinkin, now-former Head of the Investigations Directorate of the ICR in the Kemerovo Region, has provided an explanation during the court session determining pretrial restrictions for him. 

The above-mentioned raiding takeover techniques were widely used by high-ranked governmental functionaries – but this time they have chosen a wrong target for these techniques.

According to some sources, Shukin was the first to realize his error during a trip to Moscow to prepare the documentation and meet with other owners of the enterprise. At a press conference held on the next day after the arrest of the eight suspects, Governor Tuleev told that Shukin has returned to the Kuzbass pale and scared, torn all papers, cancelled all arrangements related to the acquisition of the Inskoy pit, and called back all his specialists from the enterprise. 

Shukin was scared due to a major strategic blunder: somehow, now one in the region had bothered to find out: who stands behind humble, obscure lawyer Tsygankov – owner of the control block of shares in the disputed enterprise? Apparently, the power brokers were so confident in the legitimacy of their intentions and actions that they have forgotten that somebody might disagree with them. Furthermore, this somebody might have even more powers and levers than they do.

Юшваев и Якобашвили

Gavriil Yushvaev and David Yakobashvili 

The troubles could be easily prevented by checking the names of the pit owners. For example, 30% of the Inskoy pit belong to a Swedish citizen David Yakobashvili, a partner and relative of Gavriil Yushvaev (also known in certain circles as criminal authority Garik Makhachkala). Back in 2014, information on Yushvaev’s interests in the Kemerovo region was already available in the Internet. Promuglesbyt Management Company Limited Liability Company, where the businessmen owned 39% each, was a major industrial project of Yushvaev and Yakobashvili. Ilia Gavrilov, the owner of the Federal Depository Bank, and Wimm Bill Dann shareholders have established this company in 2001; its assets included two coal mining enterprises: the Kolmogorovskaya-2 mine and Razrez Inskoy (Inskoy Pit) mine. Their production in 2013 was some 3 million tons of power-generating coal. Both mines had been considered perspective at that time; according to the owners, they would consider sale of this profitable asset only upon reaching the production level of 10 million tons per year. Currently the Kolmogorovskaya-2 mine is on the verge of bankruptcy. Should the security service of Shukin dig a little bit deeper, they could find out that Yushvaev, as a private individual, is financing the small Kuzbass-based enterprise Razrez Inskoy through credits, thus, saving it from bankruptcy. Henchmen of Shukin could try to buy the mine to get oligarch Yushvaev out of the coal business. But now it is unlikely that Yushvaev would ever forgive what had been done – especially, so rudely.

 Our
notes

Gavriil Yushvaev was born in 1957 in Makhachkala. He is the 68th richest person in Russia; his fortune has been estimated at $1.1 billion. In 1980, was sentenced to 9 years behind bars for robbery. Upon release in 1989, has engaged into business – jointly with partner David Yakobashvili (sponsored the guard of Zakhar Kalashov); was involved into gambling business, car sales (founded Trinity Car Dealership), and advertisement. In 1993, jointly with partner Yakobashvili, has invested funds into a juice bottling project on the Lianozovo Diary Plant. This was the beginning of Wimm Bill Dann. A member of boards of directors in the following agricultural and real estate companies: RusAgroProject CJSC, Agrocomplex Gorki-2 CJSC, Eisk Port Elevator OJSC, and Cattle Farm Naroosanovsky OJSC.


According to some sources, this summer, a functionary from the federal ICR had visited the Investigations Directorate in the Kemerovo Region with inspection and recommended Kalinkin to leave Tsygankov alone and abandon this game. Apparently, the advice has not been followed. 

Kalinkin has also attempted to address Alexander Bastrykin, the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, via media and told the journalists about links between some officers in the federal ICR and billionaire Yushvaev. He stated that all the recent events, including searches and arrests, are a purposeful attack on Aleksander Shukin and his business – while the other seven suspects are just a crowd to create an illusion of a criminal group. General Kalinkin asked to assign trusted officers able to sort out the situation. “It is crucial that the check is performed by officers who had never been working on the North Caucasus and were not subordinates to Ilia Lazutov, the Deputy Chairman of the ICR. Because currently the mine is funded by some individual through personal loans. If you check the Internet, this person had been earlier convicted for robbery. Now he is a very rich person, owns ships and everything. Listed in the Forbes top ten or top hundred. His is a Dagestani by nationality. Ilia Valerievich Lazutov had been serving on the North Caucasus for a long time, and the case against me was initiated by him,” – Sergey Kalinkin expressed his wish in the court. In response, Bastrykin has dismissed the detained subordinate.

Данильченко и Иванов

Aleksander Danilchenko and Aleksey Ivanov, Vice Governors of the Kemerovo Region 

But the Governor Tuleev has not abandoned his people and called extortion accusations against the functionaries absurd. Not a single detained official of the Regional Administration was dismissed. None of them admits the guilt. 

The investigation has to find out which party is guilty in this big game around a small mine. And time will show whether this high-profile scandal would affect the career of Aman Tuleev. In the first days after the arrests, many experts used such expressions as the end of the epoch – but now the forecasts are much more cautious. The positions of the perpetual Kuzbass Governor are still pretty sound.

Discuss

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