Gazprom was fulfilling dreams of Colonel Zakharchenko
The detained billionaire policeman Dmitry Zakharchenko could have an additional source of income – PETON company, a major contractor for Gazprom.
The main question in the case of the Colonel Dmitry Zakharchenko still remains unanswered: where are the money from? There were examples of impressive sums found in residences of corrupt officials – but no one had ever seen such huge loads of cash: 1.5 ton of USD and Euro (8.5 billion rubles). Additional €300 million (over 20 billion rubles) have been later found on foreign accounts of his father.
Numerous versions explaining such an astronomical sum in possession of a law enforcement officer have immediately emerged, including the case of Nota-Bank, possible role of Zakharchenko as the keeper of a cash common fund of corrupt officials, his family business, potential links with Evgeny Zhilin, the Head of Oplot Ukrainian public organization, recently killed near Moscow, etc. One of the versions even stated that the money were the black cash of the Russian Maidan received directly from the US.
We are not going to deny any of the above-mentioned versions, but instead will suggest another possible source of super profits of Zakharchenko – PETON company, a major contractor for Gazprom.
Technological Engineering Holding PETON Limited Liability Company was established in Ufa back in 2003. More than 10 years have passed since its creation – and then it suddenly began winning multibillion Gazprom tenders. In 2015, this company, specializing in scientific research, was awarded a contract worth 27.7 billion rubles for construction and modernization of the gas distribution system in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. In 2016, PETON has signed a record – even for Gazprom – contract for the total of 50 billion rubles, thus, becoming the champion among other contractors in this industry.
The contract is unique not only by its cost, but also because it was awarded to PETON without a tender – i.e. on a sole source basis. For this money, PETON shall build a gas conversion and transportation facility in West Siberia.
Currently, the portfolio of PETON includes contracts for the total amount over 100 billion rubles – with Gazprom Public Joint Stock Company, VNIIPIgazbobycha Open Joint Stock Company, Gazprom Neftekhim Salavat Open Joint Stock Company, Gazprom Pererabotka, Gazprom Dobycha Orenburg, Gazprom Dobycha Astrakhan, Gazprom Invest Yug, and other structures of the state gas corporation.
There is a reason behind such a success of a little-known company: in 2014 Andrey Kurnosenko, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs for the Republic of Bashkortostan, has been appointed the Chief of the General Administration for Economic Security and Combatting the Corruption of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation.
Andrey Kurnosenko was born on July 17, 1969 in Sevastopol. Graduated from the Nakhimov Black Sea Naval Academy. In 2001, received a degree in jurisprudence at the Moscow State Social University. He began his career in law enforcement in 1995 as the Operations Officer in the Regional Administration for Combating Organized Crime under the Main Administration of Internal Affairs in Moscow. Since October 2006, served in the General Administration of Internal Security of the Russian MIA. In December 2012, was appointed the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs in the Republic of Bashkortostan. In 2014–2015, he was the Deputy Chief and later the First Deputy Chief of the General Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the Russian MIA. In the end of 2015, was appointed the Chief of the General Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the Russian MIA.
According to some sources, it was the patronage of the Police Major General that enabled PETON to move from regional to the federal level. The company is believed to be affiliated with the police, which manages it trough Eduard Gasanov, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of PETON Holding.
According to Russian Mafia web portal, Gasanov had attracted attention of law enforcement authorities back in 2000 – when he was arrested in the Republic of Bashkortostan for swindling committed through his official position, as well as on a large scale (part 3 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Gasanov was released from jail in 2004, and four years later got into trouble again: Azamat Sultangareev, born 1984, has reported to law enforcement authorities that Gasanov, threatening to use force, had forced him to sign a receipt for 1.2 million rubles. But this case never made it to court. It is unknown whether the police officials wanted to frame up Gasanov, or they successfully got him off the hook – but one way or another, he has become a key figure in the implementation of their financial plans. Apparently, Gasanov is the police overlooker in PETON.
However, when it came to the first major deal with Bashneft, the police-controlled company sustained a failure: Vladislav Butorin, the Head of the Department for Economic Security and Information Protection of Bashneft, had opposed the shady business. In December 2009 he was killed. The investigation, led by Vladislav Gorkavtsev, the Head of the Administration of Criminal Investigation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) in the Republic of Bashkortostan, has resulted in nothing. And Bashneft has changed its mind and signed with PETON contracts so crucial for it.
The police cover assisted PETON in elimination of competitors. In 2012, following an application from Gasanov, the Birsky Inter-District Investigations Department of the Investigations Directorate in the Republic of Bashkortostan of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) had initiated a criminal case under part 1 of Article 138 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Violation of the Secrecy of Correspondence and Telephone Conversations of Individuals) due to illegal eavesdropping of his conversations with the management of Ufaneftekhim, a subsidiary company of Bashneft. Searches had been performed in offices of the partners, which resulted in abandonment of their claims for contracts with Bashneft – and PETON has got all these contracts.
In 2014, this corrupt business model has relocated to Moscow – together with Kurnosenko. In September 2015, Vladislav Gorkavtsev, the former Head of the Administration of Criminal Investigation of the MIA in the Republic of Bashkortostan, – the one who failed to solve the contract killing of the Head of the Department for Economic Security and Information Protection of Bashneft – was appointed the Deputy Chief of the General Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the Russian MIA. Aleksander Tishenko, the Head of the Department T of the General Administration for Economic Security and Combatting the Corruption of MIA supervising the whole fuel and energy complex, and his Deputy – notorious Dmitry Zakharchenko – have joined the group. Since then, PETON was not willing to spend time and efforts on petty contracts with Bashneft anymore – now Gazprom has become its primary customer.
According to some sources, Kirill Seleznev, the General Director of Gazprom Mezhregiongas Limited Liability Company, acted on behalf of the state monopolist in its deals with PETON.
Kirill Seleznev was born on April 23, 1974 in Leningrad. Graduated from Ustinov Baltic State Technical University majoring in Pulse Devices and Automated Rotary Lines Engineering and from St. Petersburg State University majoring in Credit Theory and Financial Management. Has a PhD in Economics. Started his career in 1997 as a manager in the Baltic Financial Company Limited Liability Company. Then was a technical Analyst in Money-Market Instruments; the Lead Expert in Securities of the Stock Exchange Transactions Division at the Investment and Financial Group “Management, Investment, Development”; the Chief Expert of the Investment Activities Coordination Group of the St. Petersburg Sea Port; the Head of the Tax Policy Group at the Baltic Pipeline System (BPS); and subsequently, at the BPS branch – Upper Volga Oil Trunklines. In 2001 he became the Deputy Head of the Management Committee Administration – Assistant to Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom; a year later – the Head of the Gas and Liquid Hydrocarbons Marketing and Processing Department and Member of the Management Committee, the Head of the Gas and Liquid Hydrocarbons Marketing and Processing Department of Gazprom. Finally, in 2003, became the General Director of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz, a subsidiary company of Gazprom.
During the rule of Seleznev in Gazprom, tons of compromising materials against him have been accumulated – mainly, related to withdrawal of budget funds via contractors and affiliated banks and other embezzlement schemes.
For example, Novaya Gazeta wrote about a deal with Rossia Bank supervised by Seleznev that resulted in a loss of 5 billion rubles for the gas monopolist. The state corporation had also sustained losses in operations with its own assets – first, selling those cheap with a loss and then buying back at a higher price. In particular, this happened with shares of Gazprom Neftekhim Salavat, one of the largest petrochemical complexes in Russia. All such episodes involved Ivan Mironov, a stepbrother of Seleznev, who calls himself a businessman investing funds with profit into Gazprom shares.
Sources also note two profitable contracts awarded by Seleznev to structures controlled by his close friend Vladimir Karatashyan, the General Director of Stroytransgas Closed Joint Stock Company and Member of the Board of Directors of Gazprom StroyTEK Salavat Joint Stock Company. The cost of services supplied under the contracts signed by Gazprom Public Joint Stock Company either directly with Gazprom StroyTEK Salavat or via subcontractors was overcharged by up to 8 times.
Apparently, it is impossible to screw up so many times and avoid prosecution without having good comrades in law enforcement structures. In return Seleznev was lobbying PETON interests in Gazprom – while the enforcement officials were clearing the way for their pet company to Gazprom contracts by all means. For instance, recently law enforcement authorities have seized documents from Gazprom Transgaz Yugorsk and initiated a criminal case. In August 2016, a criminal case has been initiated against Leonid Lee, the former General Director of another subcontractor of Gazprom – Midglen Logistics Sakhalin Limited Liability Company.
Meanwhile, Andrey Kurnosenko, the Chief of the MIA General Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption, gave an interview published under an ironical headline: “We are not a hit squad”. He states that “any pressure on bona fide businesses is absolutely unacceptable”. Quite the contrary: “law enforcement authorities consider the private business their ally” – which sounds a little bit ambiguously in the light of past events.
The business under control of the police was so successful, that some assets even had to be liquidated. Right before his appointment the Chief of the MIA General Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption, Kurnosenko started selling out his estates in the Moscow region. An audit performed in the framework of the Zakharchenko case has found that Kurnosenko was the owner of lands in the prestigious Istra and Krasnogorsk districts with the total value of some 160 million rubles. In particular, he owned four land lots with total area of 5 thousand square meters and a mansion in the Istra district. The largest land lot of 1.5 square meters was located in Turovo cottage settlement of the Istra district. The Major General also owned three more lots and a mansion in the same settlement. Some of these assets have been purchased in November 2015 by the family of Ekaterina Severinova, the Deputy of the Krasnogorsk District. According to
Life.ru, the cost of the purchase was some 100 million rubles.
In addition, in his property declaration for the year of 2015, Kurnosenko noted two land lots (1.5 thousand and 610 square meters), a home with the living space of 192 square meters, and a garage. Kurnosenko also owns two apartments (117 and 64 square meters) and a shed. According to the declaration, the Major General does not have a personal car.
Apparently, PETON is not the only source of income for the high-ranked law enforcement officials. The public became aware about PETON only because of the arrest of Zakharchenko in the framework of an unrelated criminal case. Life.ru reported that Andrey Kurnosenko somehow was abroad on the day of searches in the apartment of the sister of Zakharchenko. It was also reported that he had submitted a resignation letter as early as on September 9, 2016, but Vladimir Kolokoltsev, the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, has not approved it yet. In addition, there was a version that Kurnosenko has received a professional impropriety warning and is to be transferred to Yaroslavl and appointed the Head of the MIA Administration for the Yaroslavl Region. However, based on the most recent information, Kurnosenko managed to retain his post. If that is the true, he has successfully passed the internal audit and special services have no more questions to him... Unless Zakharchenko cracks and starts talking.