“Lukashenko Family's Purse”: how Russia doles out money to Belarus and why ex-banker Alexey Khotin is detained in Moscow
The ICR initiated a criminal case against the former owner of the Yugra Bank, Alexey Khotin, who is accused of embezzling 7.5 billion rubles ($116m). It is known that Head of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina became the initiator of the case. The case contains the surname of a Russian businessman of Belarusian origin, Dmitry Mazepin, and Belarus, headed by President Lukashenko, is a “red thread” in the Khotin's case. The CrimeRussia found out where the billion-dollar fortune of Khotin came from, what happened to Yugra Bank, whether the events are related to the Russian Ambassador to Belarus, Mikhail Babich, who had a conflict with Lukashenko the day before.
According to investigator Alexander Romanenkov, the guilt of Alexey Khotin is confirmed by “documents of the Bank of Russia, DIA materials and testimony of victim's representatives.” By the way, the letter of Elvira Nabiullina was not mentioned in court. The name of the applicant from the DIA is not disclosed. However, the Yugra Bank recognized as a victim in the case.
Alexey Khotin is detained according to the letter from the Central Bank
We emphasize that the Central Bank revoked the bank's license of Yugra on July 28, 2017: at that time, Yugra was ranked 29th in terms of assets among Russian banks.
“The reason for the recall was the failure of a credit institution to comply with the requirements of federal laws and regulations of the Central Bank. The activities of Yugra were aimed at raising funds from the public and placing them in assets of poor quality. At the time of the revocation of the license, the fair value of the bank’s assets was 51 billion rubles with liabilities of 199.3 billion rubles,” the Central Bank explains.
After the temporary administration was introduced into the bank, the Yugra borrowers, credited with 270 billion rubles, were liquidated and went bankrupt. So, in September 2018, when a court decision on bankruptcy was passed, 114 of its liquidating and insolvent borrowers accounted for almost the entire amount of debt on loans issued by Yugra. The financiers point out that if more than 90% of borrowers stop paying their loans after they lose their licenses, that is the sign of companies without a real business.
It is worth noting that the Central Bank has repeatedly appealed to law enforcement agencies before this, but the Prosecutor General’s Office stood up for Yugra, although the transactions identified by the Central Bank were aimed at the withdrawal of assets. However, financiers claim that the Yugra ratings were meager, and this institution was considered unreliable in the banking market. Now, the main question is related to Alexey Khotin - is he the beneficiary and did he give any real instructions? Nevertheless, it is known that Khotin removed the cash from it to Minsk during the period of wobbling of the bank. According to our sources, from August to November 2018, the Lukashenko Family received about 6 billion rubles in cash from Russia, half of which was invested in sanctioned smuggling, thus increasing the smuggling flow, and part of the money was laundered in Minsk cryptocurrency exchange.
Business Empire of Khotin
The detained shareholder of the Yugra Bank, Alexey Khotin, is a native of Minsk, graduated from the Minsk Suvorov School. He and his father, Yuri Khotin (the main shareholder of the bank), being Russian businessmen, have made a billion dollars in the past 20 years. Thus, in 2017, the value of the Khotins' assets was estimated at $950 million according to Forbes magazine. Adventurous Belarusians bought factories, leased real estate, were engaged in the oil and banking business. The publicity of father and son did not deceive: money loves silence.
Belarusians used to live luxury
According to some information, Russian politician Boris Gryzlov, who lobbied for their interests in the government, helped Khotin in developing the business, and their largest creditor was Rosselkhozbank, headed by Dmitry Patrushev (the son of former FSB Head Nikolay Patrushev). Now Dmitry Patrushev is the Minister of Agriculture of Russia.
In December 2013, the Khotins acquired a 29.99% stake in the British oil company Exillon Energy, which develops oil fields in the Khanty-Mansiisk Okrug and Komi, and they bought the Yakut Irelyakhneft (headed by Dmitry Ukhanev) in the summer of 2014. In November 2015, the Khotins increased the number of their assets by the small oil company Negusneft, and at the beginning of 2016, they were among the contenders for the privatization of Bashneft, which Rosneft eventually bought. Since 2018, Khotins have been the owners of Dulisma Oil Company JSC (director general is Viktor Lagvinets), which owns the license for the Dulisma oil and gas condensate field located in the Irkutsk region. By the way, both Khotins refute their involvement in the oil sphere in every way.
Khotins actively increased their oil capital
Also, Khotins are the owners of Integrated Investments LLC with a registered capital of 600 million rubles (director general - Valery Shramko, who took 9th place in the Forbes Kings of Russian Real Estate-2019 rating. In the assets of "Comprehensive Investments," it is about 1.7 million m² of office space and more than 125 thousand m² of retail space. Also, Khotins are the owners of the five-star hotel Four Seasons Moscow, located near the Red Square, which they acquired in 2015 from businessman Suleiman Kerimov.
The Khotins are the owners of the most fashionable Moscow hotel
The IQ Park business park, East Gate business center, Gorbushkin Dvor shopping center, Filion shopping center, the Fashion Season gallery on Okhotny Ryad are only part of the Moscow goodies they own.
The family is engaged in the beauty industry. Thus, the general director of the National Agency for Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacy (NACPP), located in one of the buildings on the territory of the TekhnoSintez business center on Ugreshskaya Street in Moscow, Margarita Labanok, is the sister of Alexey Khotin. Shante Beauty, a leading Russian manufacturer of cosmetics and household chemicals, is headed by Mikhail Labanok, the son-in-law of the Khotins.
The names of the Khotins' relatives are covered in SPARK database
By the way, Alexey Khotin bought the Yugra regional bank in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug in 2012, immediately changing its development strategy. Through this bank, he began to lend to the family business. For example, in 2015-2016, Khotin pledged two large business centers as collateral for loans: East Gate on the Schelkovskoe Highway and TekhnoSintez at Ugreshskaya Street. Around the same time, the Central Bank had claims to Yugra...
Dmitry Mazepin is a friend of Khotin
There is a possibility that law enforcement officers will soon come for Russian oligarch of Belarusian origin Dmitry Mazepin. He is a friend and partner of Alexey Khotin, also a native of Minsk with a diploma from the Minsk Suvorov School. By the way, both Khotin and Mazepin are special services.
Dmitry Mazepin is the owner of United Chemical Company Uralchem and Uralkali PJSC, the world's largest producers of mineral and potash fertilizers.
Dmitry Mazepin is also a native of Minsk
He, like Khotin, always tried to keep a low profile. At the same time, it is known that he was an active participant in the so-called trade war between Russia and Belarus in 2013. Then in Minsk, head of Uralkali Vladislav Baumgertner was detained, having spent three months in the Belarusian prison. Uralkali’s share was at stake.
According to sources from Belarus, Mazepin initiated the procedure of withdrawing part of his assets abroad, to offshore, after the arrest of Alexey Khotin. At the same time, Mazepin allegedly created a new chemical business in the countries of Southeast Africa - Zambia and Zimbabwe. Which is quite logical, the money will be withdrawn to Belarus, where he gets the support of well-known crypto investor Said Gutseriev, who knows how to drag the Lukashenko family’s box office under the control of the President of Belarus. There is also information that Mazepin promotes Lukashenko’s business interests in the Baltic countries.
Said Gutseriev is the crypto-guarantor of Lukashenko's box office
The Yugra case is now finished... “Lukashenko, who lost the political and strategic flair, attacked Babich and revealed the entire network of the Belarusian party within the Foreign Ministry speeding up the period of personnel rotation and new high-profile criminal cases,” Nezygar Telegram informs.
It is possible that the current criminal prosecution of Alexey Khotin (who has not been arrested for the time of the Yugra Bank case investigation), has a political subtext: after the aggravation of relations between Moscow and Minsk, Russia begins to nightmarize the oligarchs.
Recall that a diplomatic scandal with the participation of the Russian Ambassador to Belarus and the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for the development of trade and economic relations with Belarus, Mikhail Babich, broke put on the eve of the arrest. He masterfully revealed Lukashenko’s machinations to the Russian Federation. So, the diplomat brought the “transboundary lawlessness,” namely, the smuggling of sanctions products, to the level of the CIS structures. The FSB has already created a special unit for ‘gray’ imports, which comes from Belarus to the Russian Federation worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It is said that such actions have already caused a decline in interest in Belarus as a “smuggling transit.”
The largest Belarusian retailer Euroopt has already faced losses
Besides, Mikhail Babich (incidentally, Colonel of the Airborne Forces) initiated the liquidation of the Belarusian “energy offshore,” which re-exported oil products to third countries (including Ukraine) with significant losses for the Russian budget.
Mikhail Babich called the President of Belarus bluff
But perhaps the Belarusian President was outraged by the fact that Babich calculated the amount of real assistance provided by Russia to the neighboring state in the sphere of direct loans, tax benefits, preferences, energy subsidies, and so on for the first time in the history of friendly and trusting relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus. The Kremlin realized the scale of the losses and was horrified. The diplomat also carried out an audit of all agreements concluded between the two countries within the framework of the Union State: it turned out that Belarus did not implement most of the arrangements. Also, Babich revealed the main idea of ‘Belarusianization’ and total “washing out” of the Russian language. At the same time, the diplomat was able to build direct contacts not only with representatives of civil society of the Republic of Belarus but also with governors, leaders of top companies, clergy, which stirred Lukashenko’s many-year monopoly, infuriating the latter. By the way, Mikhail Babich's father - Colonel Viktor Babich - served in the German KGB residency in Dresden, where he was the Head of the then KGB captain Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin and Mikhail Babich
Of course, the figures and conclusions of Mikhail Babich did not coincide with the statistics and findings of Lukashenko. Thus, Minsk has done everything possible to get rid of the negligent Russian special representative. Mikhail Babich was recalled, and, according to President Putin’s decree, former Irkutsk Senator Dmitry Mezentsev, who in 2013-2015 was the general secretary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, was appointed at his post.
In any case, Babich Jr. opened a can of worms exposing the commercial interests of the Lukashenko Family with some Russian figures and illuminating the so-called agents of influence of Lukashenko in Russia, among which there were Alexey Khotin and Dmitry Mazepin.
It became known that Alexander Lukashenko is now eagerly negotiating with representatives of the Arab financial world from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to urgently rescue the business empire of Khotin, first of all, their oil companies and Yugra Bank. According to the available information, these negotiations are conducted not officially, but through long-time Lukashenko’s confidant Viktor Sheiman and elder son of Belarus’s President Viktor Lukashenko. According to unconfirmed information, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud agreed to join the Yugra founders board.
President Lukashenko is trying to save the Khotin’s business empire
In other words, the blow was an unpleasant surprise for Lukashenko, who siphoned off from $5 to $8 billion. Therefore, Minsk is also concerned about the future fate of businessman Dmitry Mazepin.