Unprotected Minister. Why does Minister’s mistress lay an egg?
Minister of Investments, Land and Property Relations of the Nizhny Novgorod region Ekaterina Pivovarova has held out scandal for nearly a year. But after the resignation of Governor Valery Shantsev, the chances of his protégés, who have been in control of the region, to become involved in criminal cases or at least prosecutorial inspections have increased significantly. A vivid example of this is the situation around Pivovarova, suspected by journalists in the ownership of stakes in the authorized capital of two commercial organizations.
According to the Koza.Press edition, which provoked a fuss around Nizhny Novgorod Minister Ekaterina Pivovarova, while holding public office, continues to be listed as a co-founder of two firms. According to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities (EGRUL), she owns a 15% stake in Eifer LLC (OGRN 1047796963961) and 0.0075% in Montazhnoe Upravlenie No. 3 LLC (OGRN 1027700085885), which is contrary to the law. However, the regional Ministry of Investments, Land and Property Relations hastened to state that this information does not correspond to reality, since, allegedly before the inauguration of the Minister, Ekaterina Pivovarova applied for withdrawal from the founders of these companies in accordance with Art. 23, clause 7.2 of the Law No. 14-FZ. And from the date of submission of the application, the share of the participant was transferred to the organizations. It should be added that according to the SPARK-Interfax system, Eifer LLC specializes in wholesale trade in Moscow, and Montazhnoe Upravlenie No 3 LLC is a capital real estate agency. Pivovarova owns shares in the authorized capitals of these organizations from 2009 and 2011, respectively. Now the Prosecutor's Office should answer the questions, whether the Nizhny Novgorod Minister is the owner of the business or the published data of the Unified State Register of Legal Entities. In accordance with any findings, the issue of taking measures of prosecutorial response will be resolved.
But even before the verdict of the Prosecutor's Office, local deputies expressed their public condemnation of Pivovarova. At the same time, former Governor Valery Shantsev, who appointed a representative of the Moscow business a year ago to the post of the Head of the Ministry of Investments, Land and Property Relations, was criticized too.
Prior to the scandal with business interests in the region, Pivovarova became famous for the declarations made last year: she became the richest Minister in the Government. She declared 10.1 million rubles ($175.500), including 476.6 thousand rubles ($8.300) on the job. The official owns a land plot of 2.3 thousand square meters, two apartments with an area of 198.4 square meters and 45.2 square meters, as well as a parking lot of 14.2 square meters. The Minister has cars Lexus RX350 and Nissan Qashqai. In her use there is an unfinished apartment house of 550 square meters and a dacha of 216 square meters. All real estate objects are registered in Russia.
By the way, Ekaterina Pivovarova is currently the second head of this structure in the Nizhny Novgorod Government. The Ministry of Investments, Land and Property Relations was established in June 2015 as a result of the merger of the Ministry of Investment Policy and the Ministry of State Property and Land Resources. Just before the merger, the Head of the Ministry of State Property and Land Resources, Alexander Makarov, was suspected of exceeding official powers in the privatization of the NPAT's reversal site in the Meshcherskoye Lake microdistrict. Namely, the Minister granted the commercial organization a land plot in Nizhny Novgorod, which was in the regional ownership and caused the damage amounting to more than 70 million rubles ($1.2m). Now, according to the court's decision, the ex-official will spend the next 4.5 years in the correctional colony of the general regime. Pivovarova's predecessor Natalia Kazachkova unexpectedly left the post at her own will on the eve of the V International Business Summit in late September last year. And Governor Valery Shantsev proposed this post of the Minister of one of the key departments in the Government to Moscow businesswoman Pivovarova. According to some information, the choice was not accidental. The spouse of Kazachkova, who worked in Nizhnekhinventarizatsiya (the company manages immovable property for a fee or on a contractual basis), was prosecuted the day before (according to some sources, suspected of sensitive information trafficking), and Natalia Kazachkova was simply squeezed out of the Government, exempting Investment, Land and Property Relations Minister's post for a specific figure.
Ekaterina Pivovarova was born in 1975 in Moscow. In 2006 she graduated from the Moscow University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, with a specialization in Jurisprudence. In 1993-2016, she held managerial positions in commercial organizations. Prior to the appointment of the Minister of Investments, Property and Land Relations, she worked as the first deputy general director for investment and commercial activities of RK Stroy LLC till October 17, 2016.
It is worth adding that the company RK Stroy is a state developer, created by the bank Russky Kapital (Russian Assets) to rehabilitate the company SU-155, once the largest Russian developer. The company was founded in 1993. Thanks to the connections of its head Mikhail Balakin with the Defense Ministry, SU-155 became the largest recipient of governmental contracts for the construction of housing for the military. The distribution of orders was assisted by Evgenia Vasilieva, the ex-Head of the Property Relations department of the Defense Ministry, who for several years headed the subsidiary structure of SU-155 in St. Petersburg. The counterparties tried to bankrupt the company also almost from the time it was founded, but the developer was saved by the strong lobbying capabilities of Mikhail Balakin, who for a long time was part of the inner circle of ex-Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and even worked in the Moscow Government in 2000-2005. When Yuri Luzhkov and Anatoly Serdyukov left their posts, the number of state orders dropped significantly - in 2013, state customers accounted for 70 percent of all built-up by SU-155 housing, in 2014 - only half. But even with the received orders, the company did not cope periodically. In 2013, the Ministry of Defense filed a claim for 357.8 million rubles ($6.2m) to SU-155 due to the failure to implement a number of projects in the Central Federal District. The debt of the developer reached a billion rubles, but under Anatoly Serdyukov, this issue was resolved without the court. The new leadership of the Ministry decided to stop this practice. Moscow authorities also filed a claim against SU-155. In 2011, the company was severely criticized by Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin for the failure to meet the deadlines for the construction of social housing. In 2013, a lawsuit was filed demanding the return of 3.5 billion rubles ($60.7m) to the budget for failure to fulfill the obligations for the construction of a social protection center and a registry office in South Butovo. At the end of 2014, the Governor of the Moscow region, Andrey Vorobyev, threatened to break the contract with the developer because of violations of the obligations to build social infrastructure in the Pavshinskaya Poyma suburb near Moscow. In addition, the term of putting into service a number of houses in the Moscow region has been postponed several times by the developer. Some of them have not been handed over so far, which gave rise to a wave of protests from the affected stakeholders. In March 2015, the largest Russian banks joined the creditors requiring money from the developer. So, Rosbank demanded a loan repayment of 51 million dollars, issued in 2008, and also interest. Since the beginning of 2015, three lawsuits were filed by Vozrozhdenie Bank, which in November 2014 managed to obtain a decision to recover 354 million rubles ($6.1m) from the developer. In total, the debts of SU-155 exceeded 315 billion rubles with the value of the company's assets of about 204 billion rubles. The main part (120 billion rubles) in the amount of debt is financial liabilities to equity investors who invested in the construction of houses, and investors. The company owes 50 billion rubles to municipal customers and Oboronservis, 30 billion rubles to banks, and 15 billion to taxes. In December 2015, it was decided that Russky Kapital bank, 100% owned by the Deposit Insurance Agency state corporation, and the BIN group will be engaged in the sanation of the SU-155 group of companies. For these purposes the RK Stroy company was established. Russky Kapital appealed to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for support measures for the completion of the SU-155’s sanation. In total, Russky Kapital was to complete the construction of 147 houses in 14 regions of Russia. Approximately 40 billion rubles ($694m) were required for completion of the facilities. This program is adjusted annually.
So, what kind of character was prepared for Ekaterina Pivovarova? The matter is that right after the establishment of RK Stroy LLC Pivovarova was appointed first deputy general director for investment and commercial activities in this company. Before that she worked in the SU-155 in managerial positions (including the post of deputy general director - director of the investment programs department of SU-155 CJSC), gaining many awards for her work.
The Nizhny Novgorod region was associated with the notorious builder. SU-155 belonged to Nizhny Novgorod construction company DSK-NN. Its affected were 900 defrauded co-investors who bought apartments in the residential complexes Bely Gorod (White City) and Pervomaisky at the construction stage, and its own employees, whom Domostroitelny Combinat-NN CJSC owed more than 52 million rubles ($903.300) on wages for 2015-2016. According to the service of Seldon.Basis, DSK-NN CJSC, a developer from the SU-155 group of companies in the Kstovo district, is now in the process of liquidation. The owner of 99.9% of DSK-NN shares is MU-3 LLC (in the stage of bankruptcy). But the co-owner of the last company is exactly the current Minister of Investment Policy of the Nizhny Novgorod region Ekaterina Pivovarova. It was her share in this firm (0.0075%) that the Prosecutor's Office started checking.
The only conclusion is that, knowing the direct links between Pivovarova and SU-155 and its successor to RK Stroy LLC and her interest in resolving the situation with defrauded companies, which partly belongs to her, Valery Shantsev deliberately proposed to head the regional Ministry a year ago, in the competence of which was, among other things, solving issues on problem developers. Part of the problem began to be solved. At least in June this year, part of the former shareholders of SU-155 in the Nizhny Novgorod region celebrated a housewarming party. However, until the last moment, all communications between Ekaterina Pivovarova and the troubled company were carefully hidden. Probably, that her direct interest in this question was not traced.
SU-155 belonged to Nizhny Novgorod construction company DSK-NN. Her victims were 900 defrauded co-investors
There is one more point, according to which the appointment of Ekaterina Pivovarova to the Nizhny Novgorod Ministry looks not accidental. Before being in SU-155, Pivovarova worked in the Government of Moscow, at the same time as Valery Shantsev himself. There Pivovarova dealt with the allocation of land for low-rise construction. And for a while she closely worked with Moscow businesswoman Zhanna Zharova. According to extra-large scale integration, the main activity of an individual entrepreneur is the preparation of construction sites in Moscow. In 2013, information appeared that Zhanna Vladimirovna Zharova is the owner of a building with a total area of 521.9 square meters at the address 48/2, Bolshaya Ordynka (the record in Unified State Register of Real Estate Rights and Transactions is dated back to February 24, 2004 No. 77-01/30-298/2004-707) and the lessee of the land plot with an area of 0.0647 hectares in accordance with the agreement rent of May 25, 2004 No. M-01-026591; permission for construction - RU77224000-006311 of 23.08.2011 and registration in the center of Moscow: 31, Bolshaya Nikitskaya. There it was planned to build an administrative center with apartments. And SU-155 was the developer. That is, Pivovarova cooperated with Zharova, first working in the Government of Moscow, and then in the SU-155. What is interesting about this fact?
The full namesake of this woman, Zhanna Vladimirovna Zharova, is the mother of Valery Shantsev's bastard, Pavlin Valerievich Shantsev, born in 2007. According to unconfirmed, but not refuted by anybody information, after the death of the wedded wife Valery Shantsev registered marriage with the mother of his child. And it was this woman who could advise him to hire Ekaterina Pivovarova as a proven person with whom she has dealt beneficially for several years.
Despite the fact that in business circles Ekaterina Pivovarova is considered a high-level professional, with big plans for the future and healthy ambitions, the Shantsev’s team is ignorant of its future after the Governor's replacement in the Nizhny Novgorod region. And, probably, the prosecutor's check on the fact of holding stakes in the authorized capital of two commercial organizations, in which the regional Minister of Investments, Land and Property Relations was suspected, can be regarded as the first ‘call’ in the series of future high-profile exposures of Shantsev's protégés. After all, it is not excluded that the new Governor will bring his trusted managers to the region. Now it is just necessary to clear the place out.