Swindling traditions in Kaparov family of bankers
In July 2016 St. Petersburg media have reported that Daniyal Kaparov, a co-owner of Invest-Ecobank, was arrested. The investigation suspects him of swindling with oil products for 9 million rubles. Currently he is in a pretrial detention facility. It is necessary to note that his father Bogatyr Kaparov, a well-known businessman and owner of Krasnoe Znamya (Red Banner) factory, is in the same situation – he is a suspect in another swindling case. Is it a coincidence or just a family tradition of making business?
Lawsuits from a Kazan-based PPK-Resurs Limited Liability Company preceded the criminal prosecution of Daniyal Kaparov. The company is a wholesale trader of chemical and polymer products. The plaintiff claims that Avangard Limited Liability Company (according to the Consolidated State Register of Legal Entities, its owner is some Anastasia Pospelova, but Fontanka.ru reported that the company, in fact, belongs to Daniyal Kaparov) has signed a contract to supply petroleum benzene to the Kazan trader. PPK-Resurs has transferred 9,284,657 rubles to Avangard – but never received the 5 tank wagons of the product.
The company filed a claim to the St. Petersburg Arbitration Court. In addition, in Tatarstan, federal arbitration court judge Yushkov has accepted lawsuit № A65-10695/2016 for hearing. During the preliminary hearing, the court decided to “accept the lawsuit to recover funds from Avangard Limited Liability Company…, initiate proceedings, start preparations for the trial, schedule hearings to June 15, 2016”. The Tatarstan businessmen have also submitted a swindling criminal complaint to the Administration for the Central District of the General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (MIA). By that time, the St. Petersburg Arbitration Court has already compelled Avangard to refund the payment to PPK-Resurs – but this court decision was not implemented. The arbitration hearings in St. Petersburg were pretty complicated: the defendants were dragging out the trial by all means – submitted petitions to adjourn hearings, to bring third parties into the proceedings, etc.
Finally, the criminal investigators approached Daniyal Kaparov with a few questions – about the vanished 9 million rubles and 5 tank wagons of oil products. Charges have not been laid against the businessman yet – but perhaps the investigators would also ask Daniyal Bogatyrovich of funds that have disappeared from the bankrupt Invest-Ecobank and how his family was managing other people’s moneys?
53% shares in Invest-Ecobank belong to the mother of Daniyal – Aminat Kaparova; 37.6% – to Daniyal Kaparov; 9.4% – to his sister Naida Kaparova. His father Bogatyr Kaparov was the Chairman of the Board in this bank; Daniyal is the First Deputy Chairman of the Board. In addition, Bogatyr, Daniyal, and Aminat own 10% shares in Inter-Granit Limited Liability Company – a Karelian stone-mining enterprise.
The bankruptcy of Invest-Ecobank is surrounded by numerous semi-criminal rumors. In 1999 Bogatyr Kaparov purchased it from Aleksander Sabadash, also known as the king of vodka. The new venture of Bogatyr Kaparov was shining like a true financial diamond – which is not surprising, taking his extensive past experience in managing such businesses.
The very first Board of Directors of Invest-Ecobank Limited Liability Company was truly impressive. Lyudmila Ponidelko – wife of Anatoly Ponidelko, the ex-Head of the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, – was the Chairman of the Board. In 2006 she resigned from this post. The new Chairman of the Board was well-known Valentin Mettus – the former Chairman of the Committee for Physical Training and Sport of the Administration of St. Petersburg (later charged of exceeding official powers by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation). Still, the Ponidelko clan has retained its positions in the bank: Oksana Ponidelko, a niece of the ex-Head of the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, continued working there.
Valentin Mettus managed to keep his chair for almost 5 years. Allegedly, the Kaparovs have hounded him out. In addition, Daniyal Kaparov had a legal dispute with him in the Arbitration Court of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region with regards to severance pay in the amount of two monthly salaries paid to Mettus after the termination of his employment. Kaparov junior asked the court to recognize the amendment of November 11, 2011 to the employment contract null and void. The court has supported the position of the bank and delivered a judgment in its favor.
SCREENSHOT: Owners of Invest-Ecobank
Everything was fine until June 10, 2015, when the Central Bank has revoked the bank’s license and imposed the external management procedure. The official announcement stated that the bank was deprived of its license because it used to implement high-risk credit policies. In addition, the credit institution was involved into questionable operations, including transferring funds abroad on a large scale. According to some sources, 20–30 million rubles had been withdrawn from Invest-Ecobank each month.
But this is the official version. According to the unofficial one, Bogatyr Kaparov was purposively heading the bank towards bankruptcy using a trivial financial pyramid scheme and machinations with credits. The following scheme was allegedly used: the bank was signing a credit agreement with someone familiar with its employees; the borrower provided a copy of his passport; then a fake job letter, income statement, and tax statement were forged. The fake borrower was receiving a small sum of money as a compensation for efforts, while the bank founders – the Kaparov family – actually received the credit funds. According to some sources, these moneys had been withdrawn from the bank and used to bribe law enforcement, watchdog, and other authorities. At the moment of the license revocation, the parish treasury of the Church of the Pre-eminent Apostle Peter located on Iskrovsky avenue was kept on an Invest-Ecobank account. The construction of this church had been sponsored by such construction business sharks as LSR Company. 5 million rubles donated for church finishing and painting were stored in Invest-Ecobank. The parish of the Church of Martyress Empress Alexandra located on Lermontovsky avenue had also kept its treasury in this bank.
As of the beginning of 2015, 870 companies had accounts in Invest-Ecobank, plus there were some 790 personal accounts there. In August 2015 the Arbitration Court of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region has delivered a compulsory closure verdict for this financial institution.
Charges and runaway
In addition, the patriarch of the Kaparov family – Bogatyr Kaparov – is currently indicted in the framework of a swindling case related to the building located at 28A Podkovyrova street. The former college building belonged to the state until 2007; then an organized crime group has purchased it for 65 million rubles and sold to some commercial structure. Kaparov was suspected of swindling and money laundering; as soon as the law enforcement authorities have expressed interest to Bogatyr Mukhtarovich, he went on the run.
The building located at 28A Podkovyrova street was directly related to Krasnoe Znamya (Red Banner) factory. A textile industry college was located in it; most of its graduates joined the Krasnoe Znamya workforce. The factory has privatized the college building in the 1990s. It turned out later that, according to a Federal Law prohibiting transfer of educational institutions to private owners, the privatization was illegal. In 1999 the St. Petersburg Committee for Municipal Property Management has filed a lawsuit to the Arbitrage Court to return the college to the City Administration and won.
Kaparov was caught in the airport trying to fly from Moscow to Bonn in the autumn of 2009 and detained in Matrosskaya Tishina. A year later, the Moscow City Court has satisfied the motion filed by his defense attorneys and changed pretrial restrictions for Kaparov from detention to bail of 5 million rubles due to his poor health condition.
In 2013 the investigation has been completed, and the case was transferred to the prosecutor for submission to court. Interestingly, two famous raiders – Vladimir and Kirill Tsvetkov – will be tried together with Kaparov. According to some sources, Kirill Tsvetkov was a member of Tambovskie criminal group involved into the illegal seizure of Smolninsky store and Peterburgsky Ugolok restaurant.
Currently Bogatyr Kaparov is officially considered a suspect – while Vladimir and Kirill Tsvetkov are charged with swindling with the building located at 28A Podkovyrova street. Court hearings are not scheduled yet; one of the suspects in this case is on the federal wanted list. But the trial promises to be very interesting in any event. It is also known that Kaparov junior was arrested on July 25, 2016. Time will show whether the Kaparovs’ financial empire collapses with the arrest of Daniyal or not.