Discharge chord of Mirzoev. How Spetsstroy functionaries making money on defense contracts
The Federal Agency for Special Construction (Spetsstroy) used to be a leading construction organization in the Soviet era; it had been building military facilities, railroads, plants, and whole towns. Apparently, today Spetsstroy can only fail a job (like it almost happened with the construction of Vostochny cosmodrome) by exceeding the budget by several times. But for some of its functionaries, it provided tremendous opportunities to make good money.
Spetsstroy was involved into the construction of most important objects in the country, for example, the Main Building of the Moscow State University and the high-rise on Kotelnicheskaya quay. Later, after the collapse of the USSR, the General Administration for Engineering Works № 2 of Spetsstroy has built the trade center on Okhotny row, as well as military bases and polygons in extreme climate conditions in the Kurils and Arctic. But recently the main builder for the Ministry of Defense experiences hard times – the company’s reputation has been marred by corruption scandals and a series of bankruptcies among its subsidiary structures.
Nikolai Abroskin was the Head of the organization in the period of 2000–2011. Vladimir Mirzoev was his Deputy for Capital Construction and Industries. Currently, both of them are employed with the Administrative Department of the President of the Russian Federation.
It can be said that Vladimir Mirzoev has inherited his position in the main construction subdivision of the Ministry of Defense: in the end of the 1990s – beginning of the 2000s, his father worked in this organization as the Head of SU–204. Later SU–204 went bankrupt; some sources estimate damages sustained by the state budget due to this bankruptcy at 200 million rubles. Inna, the spouse of Vladimir Mirzoev, is also involved in the construction industry: she owns SK.Stroybeton company specializing in concrete production and two trucking companies – Logites Limited Liability Company and Ratek-Beton Limited Liability Company. In addition to these businesses, she concurrently works in a totally different field: being a psychologist by education, she has an extensive experience of work in the Institute of Clinical Oncology of the Oncological Center of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, and currently she is the Head of “World in Colors” Center-Studio for Psychological Counseling.
In the 2000s, SK.Stroybeton had leased production facilities from USST–2 Federal State Unitary Enterprise – a subsidiary structure of Spetsstroy. Furthermore, USST–2 used to secure contracts for SK.Stroybeton. Later, when subordinate enterprises of Spetsstroy started going bankrupt, SK.Stroybeton has purchased the leased facilities through a mock auction.
Vladimir Mirzoev with his wife (on the right)
There were many such links between various people and companies in the biography of Vladimir Mirzoev. From this point of view, his collaboration with colleagues, partners, and even relatives during the construction of an apartment building at 13a Alabyana street in Moscow for officers having no housing (completed in 2009) is of special interest. In addition to Spetsstroy (who was the developer–investor), there was a co-investor – Construction Department–6 Limited Liability Company managed by Oleg Perlini who is currently the head of the construction subdivision in the Administrative Department of the President. By the way, in 2014, he turned out to be the richest official in the department – his declared income was over 63.5 million rubles.
In 2005, Construction Department–6 was transformed into SMU–6, and a brother of Perlin, Vadim, has become its General Director. Furthermore, some Georgy Vladimirovich Mirzoev (apparently, a relative of Vladimir Mirzoev, the former Deputy Head of Spetsstroy) is the Deputy General Director of SMU–6 for Economy. Residents of nearby homes have noticed that something goes wrong during the construction stage: according to an advertisement, some apartments in the social housing had been offered for sale (!). Promotion brochures of the Imperial Residential Complex (this is the official name of the apartment building for Russian military officers) described it as a businessclass new development located in the prestigious Sokol district. “This complex, – the ad stated, – combines elite housing, underground parking with car service, kindergarten with playgrounds, sports complex, and trade and service facilities”. According to the Governmental Decree of the City of Moscow № 2654-RP “Amendments to the Governmental Decree of the City of Moscow №839-RP of May 22, 2003”, the living space must be transferred “100% to the federal ownership to be provided to officers having no housing and military service personnel of the Federal Agency for Special Construction eligible for improvement of their living conditions”. Spetsstroy itself has fallen short of 2816 square meters of living space in the new building or monetary funds in the amount of 482.7 million rubles. It is necessary to note that the office of the General Administration for Engineering Works № 2 of Spetsstroy is located pretty close to the elite residential complex – at 5 1st Krasnogorsky drive. So, whom was the house on Alabyana street constructed for?
By the way, in the past, the organization used to act more blatantly. The following scheme was used: the Ministry of Defense acts as the construction project owner and retains a private company as an investor – who, in turn, sells the future living space to citizens and registers them as co-investors. Here is the backstory: in the middle of the 1990s, the Ministry of Defense has joined the program Land in Exchange for Housing intended to resolve the housing issue for military service personnel. Lands belonging to the Ministry were offered to private developers for residential construction – and the developers had to compensate the cost of the land use by providing apartments to the Ministry. Obviously, the highest market demand was not on lands of military bases in distant parts of the country, but on lands in large cities and their close suburbs. Ultimately, the newly-constructed residential complexes had two owners – the Ministry of Defense and the developer – who were distributing the living space based on their internal arrangements.
For example, in the building located at 3–18 Rublevskoe highway, 127 apartments had been purchased by people having no relation to the military service. But they never received their housing – and it turns out that it was the governmental agency that had cheated the co-investors. But the General Administration for Housing Usage of the Ministry of Defense has decided that it has no obligations under contracts signed with individuals because it was not a party to these contracts and had never made commitments to provide housing to them. All the blame was put on the investor – the Moscow Real Estate Company Closed Joint Stock Company. In 1998, a criminal case has been initiated due to the disappearance of the General Director of the Moscow Real Estate Company. Over $15 million have disappeared together with him. Everything seemed logical: the investor had cheated the individuals, and the military agency had to finish the construction at its own expense – therefore, it had the right to settle its personnel in the house. But the hoodwinked co-investors have concluded that the Ministry of the Defense had been directly involved into this scam. The General Administration for Housing Usage of the Ministry of Defense, being the construction project owner, had signed a contract with a dummy company, which staff used forged documents. The lack of client’s control over the solvency of the investor and implementation of its obligations under the contract and the fact that military personnel have received all the apartments in the complex have led the hoodwinked co-investors to a conclusion that some military functionaries could be directly interested in the selection of such a dishonest investor. Later the Moscow authorities have intervened into this issue, and as 2014, nine people were still considered victims in relation to that house. The Ministry of Defense had implemented such schemes more than once, so the total of amount of victims is much higher. In 2010−2011, pickets had been rallied in Moscow by hoodwinked co-investors of construction projects involving the Ministry of Defense: Moskovskie Okna (Moscow Windows) Residential Complex (5 Novogireevskaya street, Moscow), Lesnaya Korona (Forest Crown) (town of Korolev), 4 Artamonova street, Akademika Anokhina street, 18 Rublevskoe highway, etc. In 2014, the Committee of the City of Moscow for Control over Implementation of Investment Projects and Cooperative Housing Projects (Moskomstroyinvest) has produced a special register listing some 300 victims. It was intended to submit the documents of the victims to the Department for Regional Security and Combating Corruption of the City of Moscow.
The name of Aleksander Kosovan was mentioned in all such episodes. He is a former Deputy Minister of Defense and was the Head of the Construction and Billeting Service in the period of 1997–2003. His son Oleg Kosovan was the Head of the Administration of Special Construction № 10 (USST № 10) of Spetsstroy – i.e. was a subordinate to Mirzoev.
Kosovan junior, jointly with his sister Yulia, also has a pocket company – Regionpromstroy Limited Liability Company – this year, it has received governmental contract for the total of 5.3 billion rubles. Furthermore, the above-mentioned Mirzoev’s SK.Stroybeton is linked with Oleg Kosovan via a number of companies: Spetsstroy MV, ElitStroyDom, Regionpromstroy, RPS Limited Liability Company, Yug-Story Limited Liability Partnership, Firma Mechta (Dream Firm) Limited Liability Company, etc. According to operative information from law enforcement authorities, in 2002, Kosovan was suspected of receiving a kickback of $2 million for the construction of a residential complex for military service personnel on Akademika Anokhina street (southwest of Moscow). No details of this case are available yet, except for one: army general Aleksander Kosovan, father of Oleg Kosovan, had to resign from the Deputy Minister of Defense position. He could do this due to some other reasons, though – especially taking that he has quickly found a new cushy job and became the First Deputy Head of the Department of Urban Policy, Development, and Reconstruction of the City of Moscow, where he worked until 2010. Such a disposition was much more convenient: the son in Spetsstroy implements new projects, while the father controls those on behalf of the city. A memorandum submitted by the Military Prosecutor’s Office of the City of Moscow to the Colonel General of justice Aleksander Savenkov, the Chief Military Prosecutor, stated that the commissioned 243-apartment residential complex on Akademika Anokhina street – constructed in 2003–2004 by USST-10 and USST-12 federal state unitary enterprises under a contract with the city – had almost 1000 defects. Nevertheless, almost 185 million rubles had been promptly transferred to the military builders for the performed works on the basis of a signed acceptance certificate. According to military experts, the house was commissioned with unfinished works for the total amount over 22 million rubles. In addition, the financial inspection of the Ministry of Defense has found that a half of the house had been transferred to third-party investors “at the cost price and without considerable encumbrances”, which was “contrary to the interests of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation”. The same scheme was used during the construction of Nikulino–2 neighborhood (located close to Akademika Anokhina street). Internet forums dedicated to new housing were full of posts like the one shown below until recently.
Therefore, Spetsstroy has gained a notorious reputation of an untrustworthy organization. Another unpleasant story occurred with Finservice Bank that had provided in June 2008 a credit of 240 million rubles to USST–10 of Spetsstroy until November of the same year. However, the bank did not get its money back – neither in November nor later. In 2009, the bank has filed a claim to the Court of Arbitration that ruled to satisfy the plaintiff's claim and collect 257.7 million rubles from the construction organization plus a state duty of 100 thousand rubles. But the Federal Agency for State Property Management has reacted swiftly at that moment and ordered to recognize a whole bunch of federal state unitary enterprises, including USST–10, bankrupt. It became known that the enterprises were profitless since 2005, while the total debt of USST–10 to three banks, including Finservice, was some 500 million rubles.
In addition, Faima Poluektova, a judge of the Moscow City Court of Arbitration, has illegitimately appointed a party representing interests of Spetsstroy the bankruptcy supervisor for USST–10. This was a blatant violation of the Federal Law “On Insolvency and Bankruptcy” because Finservice was legally entitled to delegate a bankruptcy supervisor for USST–10. Ultimately, judge Igor Korogodov dismissed all appeals of the credit institution stating that “the plaintiff failed to prove violation of its rights and legitimate interests”.
In addition to large-scale embezzlement projects, the military functionaries used even smallest opportunities to make some money. For example, the Colonel Kosovan used to siphon funds from USST–10 through expensive protection service contracts signed with Unitradecom Production and Commercial Company Limited Liability Company and Piraia Private Security Company Limited Liability Company (act of September 30, 2003). This was a truly brilliant idea – while the obedient conscript soldiers were building cottages for generals, construction sites belonging to the Ministry of Defense were patrolled by private security guards. But in fact, the sites hadn’t even been patrolled: all the services had been rendered only on paper – while the money paid were absolutely real. For instance, some 1.5 million rubles have been transferred by USST–10 to the account of Unitradecom Production and Commercial Company for protection. Perhaps, the numerous commercial initiatives of some officials were the true reason behind the bankruptcy of USST–10 and 30 other federal state unitary enterprises? It would be weird because the total net profit of Spetsstroy for the year of 2009 has exceeded 1.8 billion rubles.
In 2010, Mirzoev has got an opportunity to make some really good money. Spetsstroy had been constructing a facility for demilitarization of chemical weapons in the town of Pochep of the Bryansk region, and he was handling the acquisitions of expensive ventilation equipment. The contract worth 130 million rubles has been awarded through a mock auction to some Spetstekhenergo Closed Joint Stock Company (it has already ceased its activities by now); coincidentally, one of its co-owners (23%) was the above-mentioned Georgy Vladimirovich Mirzoev. And it is totally unclear where the funds have gone, taking that the net profit of the company in 2010 was only 33 thousand rubles. Apparently, all the works have been performed by another legal entity with a similar name – Spetstekhenergo Open Joint Stock Company affiliated with their first common cofounder – Igor Charkin. Indeed, the income of this company for the year of 2010 was 143.6 million rubles – the largest in its whole history. According to some sources, Mirzoev and his colleague – major general Vasily Bogomolov, Deputy Director for Construction of Special Facilities, – have received 30 million rubles in kickbacks for this.
Profitable work of Mirzoev and his friends in the construction industry could continue forever – but Dmitry Medvedev has decided otherwise. His real motives are unknown, but Medvedev has terminated almost all the management of Spetsstroy. First, the General Nikolai Abroskin, the Head of the Spetsstroy, was removed from his post. The official reason was the attainment of the maximum age – he was 60. A number of superior functionaries of Spetsstroy have been terminated together with him, including heads of administrations for the North Caucasus, Far East, and Northwest of the country.
The Lieutenant General Vladimir Mirzoev, the Deputy Director for Capital Construction and Industries, was eager to become the chief military builder. But then-Minister of Defense managed to promote his own protégé – Grigory Naginsky who had been working in the construction for a long time. Shortly after this, Mirzoev himself was fired from Spetsstroy. The following functionaries have been terminated together with him by a Presidential Decree: the Major General Aleksander Khodos, the Chief Engineering Officer; the Major General Vasily Bogomolov, the Deputy Director for Construction of Special Facilities; the Lieutenant General Nikolai Gulakov and the Major General Yuri Onilov.
Oleg Kosovan has lost his job even earlier. But soon he became employed with Mirax Group owned by Sergei Polonsky – who is now charged with swindling for 2.6 billion rubles during the construction of residential complexes.
However, when Vladimir Putin has returned again to the President’s chair, many former Spetsstroy officers became employed with the Administrative Department of the President. The CrimeRussia wrote recently about this organization.
Nikolai Abroskin, the former Director of Spetsstroy, is now a deputy head of the Kremlin structure. Oleg Perlin is the Head of the General Administration for Capital Construction (earlier he was in charge of Moscow-based Mosfundamentstroy–6 construction company and Construction Administration–6 established on its basis and closely collaborating with Spetsstroy). Viktor Viktorov is the Head of the Financial and Economic Administration (he used to work in a similar subdivision of Spetsstroy in the 1990s). Vladimir Mirzoev, the former deputy for Abroskin in Spetsstroy, is the Head of the General Administration for Maintenance.
Surprisingly, but SK.Stroybeton Limited Liability Company is now linked with the Administrative Department of the President not only via the Mirzoev family but directly via their common commercial partners. The connection path goes from SK.Stroybeton to Genstroybusiness, then to Orgenergogaz, to Charitable Fund “Center for Promotion of Sustainable Development of the Civil Society”, to Construction Association Federal State Unitary Enterprise, and finally – to the Administrative Department of the President.
DocumentsDetermination of the Court of Arbitration of the City of Moscow of March 12, 2010
Decision of the Court of Arbitration of the City of Moscow of October 4, 2010
Declaration of bankruptcy of USST №10
Since early February, there has been a preventive operation of the National Police of Ukraine in cooperation with the border and migration services called ‘Migrant’. Its aim is to identify and expel thieves in law and foreign crime lords out of the country.