Liskutov and his parking ambitions in Kazakhstan
After successful introduction of paid parking in Moscow, Maxim Liksutov and his associates began to disseminate this experience in Kazakhstan. All the while continuing to make money on the budget funds of the Russian capital.
When in 2012, the Head of the Moscow Department for Transport Maxim Liksutov announced the formation of paid parking, he hardly expected so much criticism. But the discontent of the car owners, who are ignored most of the time, was not the only thing taken into account. The high-ranking official was also accused of corruption.
Maxim Liksutov was born in Estonia (renounced his citizenship in 2012) and had a successful business there for quite some time. Now he is the Head of the Moscow Department for Transport, who supposedly no longer has any ties with business. However, there is a software manufacturer NOW! Innovations in Estonia, which by some strange coincidence, on request of the Moscow government, has developed all the software for the parking lots - an automated system that combines all the parking meters in a single center, conducts payment, gives the tickets, and so forth.
Photo: You enter the paid parking zone
Last year, there was an attempt to prove Liksutov’s connections with NOW! Innovations. Numerous presentations and press releases showed that another Estonian developer of the Helmes computer programs is the co-owner of the company. The Embassy of Estonia in the United States also reported about that (12.11.2008), because the company introduced its products there. Moreover, a company with a similar name, Helmes Development Company Ltd, is present in the list of affiliated persons of the Moscow Ring Railway, and Liskutov oversees the reconstruction of the latter.
Moreover, a certain Transcontainer Open Joint Stock Company is the sole owner of this Helmes. The official databases of the tax service contains no information about this. However, the internal documents state that the Transcontainer OJSC owns 100% of the shares of the Helmes Development Company Ltd, which is registered in the offshore on the British Virgin Islands. And also, of the Helmes Operation UK Limited, which is located in Bristol (UK).
Until 2011, Liskutov was a member of the Board of Directors in Transсontainer. This was stated in the press release dated July 11, 2008, when his candidacy was submitted.
Noting the similar names, a member of the Molodaya Gvardiya’s Coordinating Council Irina Volodchenko appealed to Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika last August, asking to check the Department for Transportation concerning these ties with a foreign company. Volodchenko told the CrimeRussia that she had not received any response from the Prosecutor General's Office.
The direct link between the Estonian manufacturer of computer programs and Liskutov’s assets is rather difficult to establish, because it is lost among numerous offshores, which are often used exactly for this purpose. By the way, following the publication of the Panama Papers, Maxim Liksutov has already been linked with some offshore company.
However, it is the Estonian NOW! Innovations (created by Helmes specifically to provide software for parking) that provided its programs for Moscow. That fact is reflected in public procurement.
For convenience, it even created a subsidiary in Russia, Now Innovations RUS OJSC (registration date - 10.10.2012), which started to receive multimillion-dollar state contracts to correct or revise the software developed by the Estonian NOW! Innovations.
However, the money did not go directly to Now Innovations RUS. As Mosparking explained, the creation of a parking system was entrusted to OJSC Elektronnaya Moskva (94% owned by the Moscow Department of City Property). Now Innovations RUS is only a subcontractor.
Afterwards, the authorities sought technical support from this very company (bypassing Elektronnaya Moskva), through a number of intermediaries. For instance, in July 2015, the Moscow Social Register State Unitary Enterprise requested from Now Innovations RUS to modernize automation systems for parking spaces, allocating 25 million rubles for this purpose. In addition, the state enterprise also asked Now Innovations RUS to develop a subsystem of single centralized billing (electronic payment system linking all parking meters), allocating 43 million rubles. In the fall of 2015, Moscow Social Register ordered the service and analytical maintenance the United Parking Space system (AIS EPP) for 17 million rubles. The cost of the software development for the operation of car parking remained unknown. But on 2014, the tender for its modernization alone was set at a price of 94.5 million rubles.
And now for the most interesting part – who and why created Now Innovations RUS as an intermediary between the Estonian software manufacturer and the Moscow government? Russian blogger Ivan Ezhikov found that the list of Now Innovations RUS shareholders includes such offshore companies like IP Consulting Limited (Malta) and Softvent Inc. (US) - headed by Ekaterina Mescheriakova and Yulia Vdovina (the two friends switched their offices from time to time).
The list of companies and individuals associated with the parking system
Yulia Vdovina turned out to be the wife of the Moscow Social Register commercial director Konstantin Matrosov. As a reminder, this was the division of the Moscow Department for Information Technology (the main area of its work being introduction of Moscow Social Card) that often acted as a customer of Now Innovations RUS.
By the way, the Director of Moscow Social Register Daniil Titarenko is also a co-founder of Gorodskie Mobilniye Sistemi (City Mobile Systems).
Photo: the information about Gorodskie Mobilniye Sistemi (City Mobile Systems).
Department for Information Technology, represented by Elektronnaya Moskva, rents a short number 7757 from this company for receiving payment for parking via SMS. This is declared by the state organization itself.
The story of how this lease was conducted is also intriguing. At first, the Department for Information Technology planned to issue a number, which belongs to VympelCom (Beeline), to a subordinated company, Elektronnaya Moskva. However, later Elektronnaya Moskova asked to introduce an intermediary – Gorodskie Mobilniye Sistemi (where Titarenko was a co-founder).
So, after testing the parking system on Muscovites, this year it was taken to the southern capital of Kazakhstan - Almaty. The project was launched in June.
Photo: Parking in Almaty
The connection between the Moscow project and the Almaty project is proved by the fact that both have identical automated parking systems: the processing, the interaction with the user database, accounts, transactions, fines, users, objects, payment, website, mobile applications, and CCTV. Even the SMS number in Almaty is the same as in Moscow - 7757. Moreover, the former Head of the Directorate for Information Technologies of the Administrator of the Moscow Parking Spaces State Public Institution Roman Nalepa was sent to Kazakhstan to provide assistance. He took a similar position in Almaty – the Director for Information Technologies of Almaty Parking (Almaty TekhSpetsParking Servis LLC).
Almaty immediately gave response to the noticed connection between the two projects. The Almaty Parking tried to distance itself from Moscow. They stated that the negotiations on the implementation of the product had been carried out directly with the Estonian developers from NOW! Innovations. The software is implemented by the Evropeyskie Novie Otkritie Tekhnologii (ENOT) – curiously, on the rights of the system owner.
It turned out that only recently ENOT had another name - Now Innovations RUS. They changed the title right before entering the Kazakh market, in May 2016.
Photo: Information about the Evropeyskie Novie Otkritie Tekhnologii (ENOT)
It is also remarkable that both ENOT and Gorodskie Mobilnie Sistemi have the same address: Moscow, Semenovskaya naberezhnaya 2/1, str. 1.
Now everything falls into place: at first, the officials from Moscow Social Register created Now Innovations RUS to order services from themselves. However, the real work is done by the Estonian NOW! Innovations, paid for from the Russian budget.
After that, Now Innovations RUS sells the smooth working system (created by Estonians and paid for by the Muscovites) to Kazakhstan on behalf of ENOT (an affiliate of the Moscow government officials).
Is it truly a coincidence that the person who advocated for the introduction of the parking system in Moscow, Maxim Liksutov, invites an Estonian company? Was he aware of the schemes implemented by the officials? We can either guess or wait for the reaction from the responsible agencies.