Criminal theorem for billionaire 

Criminal theorem for billionaire
Vodop'yanov will follow Mikhalchenko's fate? Photo: The CrimeRussia

The business elite of St. Petersburg has been seething for several days already. After the high-profile arrests in 2017 everyone wanted evenness. But it was a ghostly calm. Recently, investigators disturbed another St.Petersburg celestial - billionaire Igor Vodop'yanov.

Tax bribery

A friend of Saddam Hussein, a virtuoso in terms of withdrawing assets abroad, a successful developer – these are epithets for successful entrepreneur Igor Vodop'yanov. But today, the public forgets about his financial abilities and luck. Everyone is waiting for the end of the story with a bribe of 5 million rubles ($88.300) to employee of the tax inspection No 24 Sergey Romanchuk.

On February 14 and 15, Igor Vodop'yanov, the executive partner and founder of the Teorema company, talked with law enforcement officials. The searches were carried out at his company's office and at his place of residence. It is noteworthy that the employees of the regional FSB conducted operational and investigative actions too. Then the billionaire was interrogated by the investigation. The topic of the conversation was an initiated criminal case upon Mediation in Bribery (Article 291.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

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Igor Vodop'yanov

Now, the billionaire is a witness in the case as against his colleague, director general of company Teorema Telecom Dmitry Loktionov, who has been detained in his apartment. The investigation believes that the Stroytrest company, controlled by Igor Vodop'yanov (located in the shopping center Evrika, owned by his holding company), is involved in the bribery of his regular inspector from the tax inspectorate, as it received the very millions of bribes. The billionaire was kept in the investigation room for several hours and then released. At large, the businessman rubbed elbows with the media. So, the businessman tells several editions that he has nothing to do with the bribery case and does not know anything about this, as well as about his procedural status.

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Langenzipen business-center

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Evrika business center

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Benois business center

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Obukhov-Center business center

Our
notes

Igor Vodop'yanov was born on August 31, 1968. He is USSR Master of Sports in fencing. From 1985 to 1991 he studied at the Baltic State Technical University n.a. Ustinov in the speciality of radio engineer. In 1994, he became one of the founders of the Balt-Group CJSC financial company, which specialized in the securities market. In 1997, he established the business center Aquatoria together with his partner Kirill Shishkov. In 2000, he left Balt-Group CJSC. In 2001 he headed the business group Teorema. Now he is the executive partner of this company. His fortune is estimated at 9.8 billion rubles ($173.1m).    
 

Meanwhile, the details of this story became known. Actually, the receipt of a bribe by tax inspector Romanchuk, according to the investigation, occurred in the summer of 2017. In a routine audit the tax inspector found that large dairy factory Neva Milk understated revenue by 49 million rubles ($865.800). According to the investigation, the inspector suggested a decrease in the size of penalties and fines imposed in such cases for a consideration. And as the media write, he confidently called the bank details of the Stroytrest company. The money was transferred to the account of the firm, and then cashed. There is no information how law enforcement agencies found this transfer.

Iraq and the past

Billionaire Vodop'yanov does not like to cut up the touches. Especially if it concerns the dashing 90s. He was neither a mob nor a shot caller. However, like any rich man from those time,s Vodop'yanov's biography has blind spots. In particular, in 2009 there were rumors that Igor Vodop'yanov had sold the business centers Langenzipen, Evrika, Benois, Obukhov-Center to certain 'reliable' partners in St. Petersburg. This happened against the backdrop of rumors, as Kommersant wrote, that Vodop'yanov and his co-owners owed $320 million. Allegedly, the beneficiary simply took away assets from creditors, re-registering them to other companies. And he himself remained a manager on their behalf.

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Igor Vodopyanov in Iraq

Information was very unexpected. Media also stated that the businessman found salvation among his old friends in Iraq. In general, Vodop'yanov never concealed his acquaintance with great eastern politician Saddam Hussein. And among the invited people attended the birthday there was the general secretary of the Iraqi branch of the Baath party. It was quite simple. Iraq is oil, oil is dollars, dollars are money that you have to invest somewhere. After this party Igor Vodop'yanov and his partners faced success. It seems that these oil-rich partners backed him up. But there is no any trace of money laundering.

Our
notes

The business center Aquatoria made Vodop'yanov famous. The businessman repaired the former institute and opened a center with different premises, rented it out. Also, the Aquatoria center was the first to provide additional services for customers - a cafe, a restaurant, free buses to the metro, sports halls and a popular night club with the same name. The idea turned out to be successful, and soon other business centers, Langenzipen, Eureka, Benois, Obukhov-Center, H2O, appeared. Teorema holding company manages about 200 thousand square meters of premises. Vodopyanov's asset includes the Teorema-Terminal warehouse complex.


Ambitions and the future

Today's situation around billionaire Igor Vodop'yanov is ambiguous. Against the background of investigation over billionaire Dmitry Mikhalchenko, broker Igor Khavronov, co-owner of the RKS-Energo company Yuri Bobylev, the case against Vodop'yanov seems dangerous. There are different versions of this case grounds.

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Dmitry Mikhalchenko

The first version. Political.

Igor Vodop'yanov is a newbie. For several years this businessman attacked Smolny and the Administration of the Governor offering the development projects. Such words as "lobbying" and "corruption" sounded. They did not just loud, but in some cases even hurt. But authorities do not forgive such words. Especially when the businessman allows himself to speak ill on city development general layout.

The second version. Private.

Igor Vodop'yanov did not have problems with power structures. But, according to some information, the billionaire began to support opposition, posting information in the social networks. Allegedly, the businessman sponsored some opposition events. A kind of dissident from Petersburg's big business. After Vodop'yanov's searches, some have noticed that the story was preceded by the appearance of billboards with his image. A similar coincidence happened to Sergei Polonsky, who also released an advertisement, and then became a political outcast, persecuted by the authorities.

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Billionaire's billboard 

The third version. Just business.

Some time ago, Igor Vodop’yanov's assets merged the Peterhof area, where hotels and dachas are planned to be built, a site in Polyustrovo - for the construction of business class residential buildings, as well as the territory on Okhta and Vasilievsky Island. According to many business partners of Igor Vodop’yanov, his way of doing business is very aggressive, harsh and not honest. Some newsmakers believe that, perhaps those representatives of business circles decided to cook his goose.

The fourth version. Black cash.

The story of the dairy, greedy inspector Romanchuk and the detention of his partner Dmitry Loktionov is somehow perfect. Despite the fact that the parties actively deny any involvement (except territorial) of the Teorema holding in this criminal case, the defense of inspector Romanchuk is significantly silent. Silence is certainly associated with another the tax inspector’s arrest prolongation. The investigation has reason to suspect that both Stroytrest and other affiliated structures of billionaire Vodop’yanov are engaged in illegal cashing funds, and, in particular, large bribes for tax officials. But we do not know the origin of this story.

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Vodop’yanov could be engaged in black cash

Anyway, this is a challenge. And it has to end up. Meanwhile, businessmen say that Vodop’yanov will face the fate of Dmitry Mikhalchenko, who also lost his chance to survive. The CrimeRussia will watch the development of affairs.

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