Robson: Sanctioned sponsor of thieves-in-law
In December 2017, the U.S. authorities have imposed sanctions against 7 thieves-in-law and 3 businessmen who, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, had provided financial and legal support to crowned thieves. Surprisingly, but the sanction list includes businessman Ruben Tatulian vehemently denying for years any ties with the criminal world. Not only Tatulian has been sanctioned, but two companies linked with him as well. The CrimeRussia performed an inquiry into foreign assets of the ‘authoritative’ businessman, his daughter’s residence in Miami, and broken agreement between him and the Sochi authorities.
In late 2017, the U.S. authorities have named Sochi-based businessman Ruben Tatulian ex-aide to Deputy of the State Duma Aleksander Karelin, a sponsor of famous thieves-in-law. The U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions against him and nine other persons. Two companies belonging to Tatulyan have also been blacklisted: Vesna (Spring) Hotel and Spa and Novyi Vek (New Century) Media.
The new sanction list against Russian ‘mafiosi’ supercedes the previous one dubbed “Brother's Circle”. The American authorities had branded Brother's Circle a hypothetical criminal organization consisting mostly of natives of the former Soviet Union. The list of sanctioned thieves-in-law includes several members of the Brother's Circle: Zakhar Kalashov (Shakro Molodoy (Shakro Junior)), Vasily Khristoforov (Vasya Voskres (Vasya Resurrected)), Kamchy Kol’baev (Kamchy), Lasha Shushanashvili (Lasha Rustavsky), Vladislav Leontiev (Vadik Bely (Vadik the White)), and Uzbek businessman Gafur Rakhimov (Gafur Cherny (Gafur the Black)) – President of the Asian Boxing Federation.
Ruben Tatulian and Aslan Usoyan (Ded Khasan)
Ruben Tatulian and Vagon
Giya Dangadze, Boris Sulava (Kicho), Vakho Chachanidze, and Ruben Tatulian
Ruben Tatulian, Kostya-Mogila (Kostya-Grave), and Timokha
New figures in the sanction list are crowned thieves Yuri Pichugin (Pichuga (Little Bird)) and Vladimir Tyurin (Tyrik) and ‘authoritative’ businessmen Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov (Taivan’chik) and Ruben Tatulyan (Robson). Not only Robson has been sanctioned, but also two companies linked with him: Vesna (Spring) Hotel and Spa and Novyi Vek (New Century) Media. The newly-imposed sanctions restrict entrance to the U.S. for the blacklisted persons, prohibit American citizens from running joint business with them, and freeze their assets falling within the U.S. jurisdiction. Two thieves-in-law have been excluded from the new list: Ded Khasan’s nephew Temuri Merzoev (Timur Sverdlovsky) deceased in 2014 and Vladimir Vagin (Vagon (Carriage)) sentenced in Russia in 2017 to 7.5 years in a maximum security penal colony for encroachment on the life of an officer of a law-enforcement agency. In addition, Kyrgyz gangster Almambet Anapiyaev killed in Minsk in 2015, businessman Artur Badalyan, and his Fasten Tourism company incorporated in the United Arab Emirates have been removed from the list. The statement issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury does not mention Russian singer Grigory Leps named a member of the Brother's Circle on October 31 2013, after the interception of his telephone conversations with Gafur Cherny about raising funds to help his friend – crowned thief Dzhemo.
Sanction list dated 2017
Sanction list dated five years ago
Apparently, the life of Ruben Tatulian has drastically changed after the statement of the American authorities. Prior to being blacklisted together with prominent criminal leaders, he had fiercely denied all allegations of the Russian media about his ties with the criminal world – despite numerous photos on the Internet showing Robson with various thieves-in-law – from Ded Khasan to Vagon. According to thematic resources, Robson was arrested at thieves’ congregations at least twice – on Krasnaya Polyana in Sochi and in Karlovy Vary – but in both cases, he had refuted journalists’ reports calling those “lies”. Lawyers of Tatulyan even managed to sue Primecrime.ru portal for an article stating that not only had he attended the Czech congregation, but also sponsored it.
Would the attorneys for Tatulian now sue the U.S. Department of the Treasury?
The diplomatic passport of Tatulian – his pride demonstrated by the ‘authoritative’ businessman at any opportunity – has instantly become a joke. By the way, this magical document has allowed him to conceal his presence at a congregation in Karlovy Vary. The CrimeRussia journalists contacted the Czech law enforcement authorities and Ministry of Justice. Based on their reluctant responses, we have concluded that this was about some privileged person – i.e. Ruben Tatulian holding a diplomatic passport. Earlier we had tried to figure out how could a person with shady past and present acquire the status of an Armenian diplomat, but in vain.
After the statement issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and mentioning Robson, his native Armenia rushed to disown the disgraced businessman through the media.
Ruben Tatulian in Karlovy Vary
“Ruben Tatulian used to be a freelance advisor for the Minister of Foreign Affairs; he does not possess this status anymore,” – Tigran Balayan, Press Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, told the Armenian press.
Answering journalists’ questions, Tatulian, in turn, called the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury “an imbecile” and expressed his grudge against the motherland that has turned its back on him.
Congregations in Dubai
In any event, now the ties between Robson and criminal leaders are not just ‘journalistic slander’ but the official stance of the American authorities who have determined that companies directly linked with Tatulian provide financial and legal aid to sanctioned thieves-in-law. It can’t be ruled out that from now on, Tatulyan would hold his international ‘negotiations’ in Dubai. The CrimeRussia found out that Tatulyan has a luxury residence in Dubai Marina neighborhood – one of the most posh yacht piers in the world. Trident Grand Residence offers scenic views on luxury beaches, Palm Jumeirah island, and harbor with a yacht pier. Robson has an apartment in this residential complex. Interestingly, the database of the Latvian Office for Prevention of Laundering of Proceeds Derived from Criminal Activity also indicates that this real property belongs to Tatulian.
The new American sanctions affect not only Robson personally, but also two companies directly linked with him: Vesna Hotel and Spa and Novyi Vek Media.
Vesna Hotel and Spa Closed Joint Stock Company operates since 2002; its charter capital in 37.4 million rubles ($659.4 thousand). The company’s income for the year of 2016 was 347.9 million rubles ($6.1 million). In 2014, Ruben Tatulyan, being a member of the Board of Directors of Vesna Hotel and Spa Closed Joint Stock Company, had owned 17.1% of shares in it.
In 2012–2015, the company has been awarded several governmental contracts totaling 2.5 million rubles ($44.1 thousand). Its clients were the Department of Youth Policy of the Krasnodar Krai and Administration for Organization and Carrying Out Sports Events Federal State Autonomous Institution subordinate to the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation. In that period, Ruben Tatulian was an aide to Aleksander Karelin, a Deputy of the State Duma from Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party and Chairman of the Sochi Wrestling Federation.
Aleksander Karelin and Ruben Tatulian
The second company blacklisted by the U.S. Authorities – Novyi Vek Media Limited Liability Company – was established in 2009; since August 2017, it is undergoing liquidation. This printing enterprise belongs 100% to Tatulyan; its director is Alvart Tatulian.
Novyi Vek Media has common registration data with some real estate companies. For instance, the Tatulian’s firm has a common telephone number with Sochi-based R-Seven Group Limited Liability Company belonging to Czech company Anabelle Property specializing in real estate leasing.
Anabelle Property has been incorporated in Prague in late 2010 – at that time, Ruben Tatulian became the henchman of Ded Khasan in the Krasnodar krai and informal local overseer. The Managing Director of Anabelle Property is Vartan Tatulyan residing in Sochi. Apparently, this person is a close relative of Ruben Tatulian – he co-owns a number of Robson’s companies. Moscow resident Natalia Myskina is a shareholder with deposit; the owns 0.01% of shares in Anabelle Property. The main shareholder is Dastyno Commerce incorporated in Prague in 2009; Sochi resident Erik Vartanovich Tatulian is the Managing Director of Dastyno Commerce.
Dastyno Commerce belongs to natives of Armenia and the British Virgin Islands – Yerevan-based Kommercheskaya Gruppa (Commercial Group) Closed Joint Stock Company and Tortola-based Royaline Investments Ltd. own it in equal shares. Until recently, 50% of shares in Dastyno Commerce had belonged to Tatulian’s Novyi Vek Media, but then the shares were transferred to his Armenian partners.
In January 2018, after the imposition of sanctions, Ruben Tatulian gave an interview to Sochi blogger Aleksander Valov. The businessman expressed his attitude towards “uncultured America” that has somehow introduced sanctions against him. When asked about his criminal ties, Ruben Tatulian evasively responded that he is familiar with hundreds of people – guests of his hotel. The businessman has also noted that the sanctions won’t affect his business in any way because his “only assets in America are his two grandsons”.
Newlyweds Galina and Vladimir Ter-Avanesov
Ruben Tatulian at his daughter’s wedding
Tatulian’s daughter Galina has married in 2012 Vladimir Ter-Avanesov, son of Armenian count Boris Ter-Avanesov. The family has recently relocated to the U.S. – The CrimeRussia found respective documents on the City of Miami official web site. In January 2017, Vladimir Ter-Avanesov took out a residential mortgage in the amount of $3.3 million in an American bank; his spouse Galina is also mentioned in the lending documents.
The young family acquired a property on Collins Avenue in Bal Harbour neighborhood dubbed by realtors “the playing grounds” for heirs to multimillion corporations, descendants of royal dynasties, and superstars. Only luxury real estate is sold there. By the way, Diana Gindin, spouse of Vladislav Reznik, Deputy of the State Duma from Edinaya Rossia Party, also owns an apartment in Bal Harbour.
Satellite image of Bal Harbour and family home of Deputy Reznik. Source: Russiangate.com
Despite the relocation to America, Galina Ter-Avanesova (nee Tatulyan) still owns shares in Moscow-based Trade Active Limited Liability Company with a charter capital of 214.2 million rubles ($3.8 million), Motor Transportation and Repair Company Open Joint Stock Company belonging to the Department of Property Relations of the Krasnodar Krai, and Amfibius Waterpark in Sochi. Another shareholder of Amfibius is Vartan Tatulian, Managing Director of Czech company Anabelle Property.
Ruben Tatulian has also taken good care of his sister Anzhela Selyukova (nee Tatulian). She is a Deputy of the Sochi Municipal Council from Edinaya Rossia Party. In addition, Selyukova owns two companies specializing in food delivery and restaurant business (Moskovsky Proekt (Moscow Project) Limited Liability Company and Proekt M (Project M) Limited Liability Company) and manages Novyi Vek (New Century) Limited Liability Company specializing in property management and leasing.
Robson’s sister – Deputy Anzhela
In 2009–2014, Novyi Vek had belonged to Ruben Tatulian but then he has transferred it to Alvart Tatulian. The company’s legal address was 219A Lenina Street, Sochi. Other companies of the Tatulian family have the same legal address, including Vesna Hotel and Spa blacklisted by the U.S.
In 2014, the Sochi Municipal Administration had tried to recover losses in the amount of 70.8 million rubles ($1.2 million) from Novyi Vek Limited Liability Company. In December 2008, the municipal administration had signed an investment agreement with Novyi Vek; according to that agreement, the company had to build at its own expense a hotel on a municipal land lot (10,560 square meters) on Lenina street. But instead of the hotel, the company has built Stolichny Residential Complex – the relevant permit was issued in 2009. According to the agreement, Novyi Vek had to transfer to the City of Sochi 9.8% of the total living space in the residential complex – but the company failed to do so. Sochi officials had sued the Tatulian’s enterprise – but the court upheld the stance of the businessman. According to the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr), four apartments in Stolichny Residential Complex belong to some Vitaly Selyukov – likely, the husband or relative of Deputy Anzhela Selyukova (nee Tatulyan). Both Vesna Hotel and Spa and Amfibius Waterpark belonging to the Tatulian family are located not far from the residential complex.
Stolichny Residential Complex
The CrimeRussia was unable to find out specifically in what way the above companies had supported thieves-in-law.
However, the inclusion of Ruben Tatulian into the ‘mafia list’ is neither a coincidence nor error – but rather a logical outcome for a person attending thieves’ congregations with a diplomatic passport.
In the 2000s, Western Europe had welcomed refugees from Chechnya. In 2018, it has finally realized the criminal potential of dozens of thousands of mountain dwellers who had left their native land because of reprisals and economic disorder. Many of those who had fought against the Russian army in the first and second Chechen wars and their grown-up children skilled in weapons and practicing martial arts have united into street gangs. The CrimeRussia was figuring out why the Germans and Austrians don’t feel themselves comfortable in their countries anymore.