“Enthrone Rostik”. Ex-Mayor of Yalta, acquitted as per request of Prosecutor General’s Office, to return to power?
The Yalta City Court detained notorious developer Yuri Dubrovitsky who has defrauded more than 100 construction co-investors. The CrimeRussia found out that, in the past, Dubrovitsky was charged with swindling and illegal construction in Sochi – but escaped punishment and launched his construction business in Crimea with the support of Sergei Aksenov, Head and Prime Minister of the Republic of Crimea, and Andrei Rostenko, Ex-Mayor of Yalta. The criminal case against Rostenko was closed in December 2018 – Viktor Grin', Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, had personally interceded for him. By a weird coincidence, a day before the examination of the cassation appeal in the Moscow City Court, the State Council of Crimea has donated Russia Sanatorium and Resort Complex to the Prosecutor General's Office. The deluxe property 22.8 thousand square meters in size is worth 428.1 million rubles ($6.5 million); its closed territory occupies 14.5 ha of land; and it has a private access to the sea. It became known that Rostenko does not make a secret out of his ambitions to become the Yalta Mayor again. The CrimeRussia reviewed the most recent scandals involving ‘unsinkable' Rostik.
From Sochi to Rostenko
A few days ago, the Yalta City Court detained well-known developer Yuri Dubrovitsky charged under part 3 of Article 200 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (deception of customers through illegal attraction of people’s funds for shared-equity construction). More than 100 Russian and foreign citizens became victims of the mala fide developer.
Detained Yuri Dubrovitsky
Results of his work. Residential complexes were supposed to be built there
Yuri Dubrovitsky was running the construction business jointly with his son Dmitry Dubrovitsky and used a classic for the South Coast of Crimea scheme – purchasing lots for individual construction and building there residential neighborhoods consisting of illegally erected ugly high-rises. The Greater Yalta Area includes more than dozen of such clusters, including Stary Krym (Old Crimea), Novy Svet (New World), Guva, Gorny (Mountainous), and Rezidentsiya Mira (World Residence) residential complexes. The family business of father and son Dubrovitsky had ignored the safety practices and urban development standards; as a result, the buildings were commissioned without water supply and sewers and with illegal power grid connection – i.e. unsuitable for habitation.
The construction co-investors ended up without money and legitimate housing. The Yalta City Court has even published on its official web site an announcement for the victims urging them to file claims in relation to the frauds committed by the Dubrovitsky family.
It is necessary to note that father and son Dubrovitsky started pulling off their fraud schemes in Yalta after relocation from Sochi where they were charged with swindling and illegal construction.
The full text of this letter is available on the Sochi real estate forum.
In other words, the developer, who had escaped criminal prosecution in the Krasnodar krai due to the negligence of the law enforcement structures, has relocated to Crimea, gained the support of regional head Sergei Aksenov and his henchman in the Greater Yalta Area – Andrei Rostenko, then-Mayor of Yalta – and resumed his fraud operations. The transition from Ukrainian to Russian realities undergone by Crimea at that time and marred by large-scale machinations and seizures of Crimean lands had provided favorable conditions for that.
When asked who could turn in the Dubrovitsky family, our Yalta source responded as follows: “Dubrovitsky had accurately paid Rostenko his share – therefore, the ‘Master of the South Coast of Crimea’ had no reasons to turn in his ‘pocket developer’. Dubrovitsky has just defrauded too many people who started filing complaints with courts. But no one can guarantee his punishment: pressure may be put on the Yalta City Court ‘from above’ – and the fraudster gains liberty”.
By the way, another notorious Yalta developer – Dmitry Tyukaev – had used, jointly with Mayor Rostenko, a similar scheme to illegally attract co-investors’ funds – but he hasn’t been detained yet in the framework of the criminal case instituted under part 3 of Article 200 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
King of illegal land seizure and corruption
To refresh background: as the Yalta Mayor, Andrei Rostenko has illegally signed in 2014–2017 more than 500 orders altering permitted land use types. The redistribution of assets and illegal construction in Yalta became his main activities resulting in huge losses sustained by the federal budget. Without public hearings and authorization of respective governmental services, he had introduced schemes bringing enormous profits to himself and his ‘boss’ Sergei Aksenov.
According to The CrimeRussia sources, in 2017, the Head of the Republic of Crimea has caught his accomplice in ‘financial impropriety’ – Rostenko started appropriating the lion’s share of the shady revenues. Insulted Aksenov dismissed Rostenko from the post of the Yalta Mayor and, to be on the safe side, imposed a moratorium on any transactions involving the land, real estate, and construction in Yalta – except for those authorized by the Crimean Council of Ministers chaired by himself. This way, Aksenov has signaled to the Yalta residents that land matters can be solved only through his trusted aides.
In May 2018, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow remanded Andrei Rostenko in custody. According to the investigation, the official has “knowingly unlawfully” transferred a land lot belonging to Alupka Health Resort subordinate to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation into the municipal ownership – i.e. illegally re-zoned the stolen land for “high-rise residential construction”. Prior to the reintegration of Crimea, Alupka Health Resort had belonged to the Ukrainian MIA; on July 14, 2014, it has been transferred to the Russian MIA as per Order of the Russian Government № 1298-r. However, a significant portion of lands accommodating its facilities had still belonged to the Republic of Crimea. Major general of justice Mikhail Tumanov, a high-ranked functionary of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR), was in charge of the team investigating this case. The investigation established that an organized criminal group consisting of high-ranked officials had operated on the South Coast of Crimea committing large-scale embezzlements and land machinations. Yalta residents had put high hopes on the arrest of Rostenko. The people of Crimea had expected the authorities to audit more than 500 illegal orders issues by the ex-Mayor and sentence him to a lengthy prison term. But their hopes went up in smoke.
In two months, Sergei Aksenov managed to get Rostenko out of prison – being in detention, the ex-Mayor had posed too much risk for the republican head. Therefore, Aksenov has taken every effort not only to release Rostenko from the pretrial detention center – but also to dismiss the criminal case instituted against him.
The ex-Mayor of Yalta has spent only two months in a Moscow pretrial detention center
Elektronika consumes Russia
The CrimeRussia became aware that the criminal case against the ex-Mayor of Yalta was annulled in a pretty interesting way. On December 18, 2018, the Moscow City Court has heard a cassation appeal filed by Viktor Grin’, Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, and seeking to annul the decision of the Basmanny District Court of Moscow to remand Andrei Rostenko, ex-Mayor of Yalta, in custody.
The Prosecutor General’s Office had repeatedly appealed the actions of the ICR team investigating the case against Andrei Rostenko – as a result, dozens of criminal episodes committed by him remain unsolved. Ultimately, all the charges laid against the ex-Mayor of Yalta were dropped and the case against him dismissed.
It is necessary to admit that a supreme prosecution official won’t intercede for an ordinary person in court.
A day before the examination of the above-mentioned cassation appeal in the Moscow City Court, on December 17, 2018, Deputies of the State Council of Crimea have donated Russia Health Resort belonging to the republic to the Prosecutor General’s Office. The deluxe sanatorium complex is located in ancient Chukular evergreen park; it constitutes a part of a health resort complex of the same name subordinate to the Administrative Office of the Crimean Parliament.
“Authorize Russia Sanatorium and Resort Complex State Unitary Enterprise of the Republic of Crimea to transfer immovable assets without tenders to Elektronika (Electronics) Sanatorium of Prosecution Officers of the Russian Federation,” – the decision made at an extraordinary session of the State Council of Crimea states. The new owners are permitted to render sanatorium services on the noncommercial basis. It must be noted that Elektronika State Budgetary Institution is located in Sochi.
A Sochi-based institution will administer a Crimean health resort
According to the available information, Gennady Lopatin, Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, has asked the Crimean authorities to transfer the sanatorium to the Prosecutor General’s Office.
"The Prosecutor General's Office has offered to accept the health resort and guaranteed investments into it and its improvement to a certain standard. I support the idea to transfer all state institutions of that level to investors to improve the recreation base," – Vladimir Konstantinov, Chairman of the Crimean Parliament, said.
Deluxe Russia (up until 2014 – Rossia) Health Resort, the largest on the South Shore of Crimea, is located within the Yalta boundaries, not far from Livadia Palace. The sanatorium complex features a private beach area; its closed territory occupies 14.5 ha of land. Elektronika State Budgetary Institution received a property 22.8 thousand square meters in size worth 428.1 million rubles ($6.5 million). It includes three bedroom buildings, administrative buildings, cottage apartments, a tunnel elevator, club cantina, sea reservoir with a water inlet, heating systems, and transformer substations.
Deluxe Russia Health Resort is not available for ordinary people
Of course, the gratuitous transfer of Russia Health Resort to the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation defending Andrei Rostenko is just a coincidence. After all, Russian Prosecutors also have the right to vacate in Crimea. However, well-aware Yalta residents think otherwise.
“A Deputy, who had participated in that extraordinary session of the Parliament in December 2018, says that the decision to transfer Russia Health Resort was made in the emergency mode. For obvious reasons, I cannot name that person – but he claims that the Deputies were confronted with an accomplished fact: the sanatorium complex must be urgently donated to the Prosecutor General's Office. All the Deputies were aware of the reason behind this decision – Andrei Rostenko. In fact, entire Yalta knows that! Everything was done with one stroke of the pen: Russia used to belong to the Republic of Crimea – and now it belongs to the Prosecutor General's Office. In reality, this looks as follows: the health resort has been seized from ordinary people and transformed into a closed recreation facility for prosecutors. In fact, we would be happy if Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika comes there on vacation – he will see the lawlessness committed in Crimea! But, to tell the truth, Yalta residents gave up all hope after the miraculous ‘collapse' of the case against Rostik," – a Yalta public activist told The CrimeRussia on condition of anonymity.
Returning back to the ‘Yalta throne’?
Overall, Sergei Aksenov managed to overcome the federal law enforcement authorities and ICR and returned his accomplice to the circles of power by appointing Rostenko his Aide and Advisor for the Implementation of the Crimea and Sevastopol Development Federal Targeted Program. This position enables Rostik to control billions of rubles invested by Moscow into the development of the Republic of Crimea.
But Sergei Aksenov and Andrei Rostenko need to regain the full control over the Greater Yalta Area; to achieve this, Rostenko must become its Mayor again. Aleksei Chelpanov, the current Yalta Mayor, puts pressure on the henchmen on Rostik and is determined to put an end to illegal construction – he threatens the developers and their ‘high patrons’ with public hearings with regards to the erection of buildings higher than six storeys in the central part of the city. The new city head promises to thoroughly review the already approved projects for compliance with the documentation. In addition, on December 3, 2018, the Yalta Deputies have unanimously approved at a regular session of the Parliament the Socio-Economic Development Strategy of the City until 2030, its Implementation Plan, and Master Plan of the City of Yalta. By the end of February, Aleksei Chelpanov, Head of the Yalta Municipal Administration, promises to approve the Land Use and Development Regulations. Amid these developments, the construction of suspicious objects is still ongoing in the city – but the majority of the deals earlier made by Andrei Rostenko may be put in jeopardy. Therefore, he has no choice but to regain the Mayor’s status at the September elections. To do so, it is necessary to remove Aleksei Chelpanov from office. But how? Perhaps, by condemning the Master Plan of the City of Yalta approved in December as “adversary to the people”, bribing local activists and journalists, and staging mass rallies of ‘angered citizens’?
On February 17, Yalta residents were called to the streets to protest against Mayor Chelpanov
“The story with Chelpanov is of utmost interest. Rostenko and Aksenov are eager to terminate him. But Aksenov cannot remove him from office because, in the past, Chelpanov had wiretapped for him a half of Crimea. By the way, the conflict between Aksenov and Rostenko in 2017 resulting in the dismissal of Rostenko was based on the information collected by Chelpanov – where and how had Rostik cheated Aksenov. Chelpanov has grown in the eyes of Aksenov in that period – and Aksenov ‘granted’ Yalta to him for high-quality wiretapping. But after the arrest of Rostenko and his detention in Moscow, they have reconciled – and Aksenov started putting pressure on Chelpanov. By the way, Moscow functionaries of the Federal Protection Service have supported Chelpanov: he used to serve there in 2014–2016 – prior to becoming an Aide to the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Crimea. Now Chelpanov has to defend himself in this weird situation – while Aksenov and Rostenko are trying to regain the full control over Yalta and enthrone Rostik again. Rostenko indents to infiltrate his henchmen to the municipal authorities on the September elections, become an autocratic Mayor, and embezzle whatever can be stolen in the city," – The CrimeRussia source says.
Aleksei Chelpanov has been in charge of the Yalta Municipal Administration since April 2018
«They intimidate Yalta residents: “We’ll be back...” In comparison with Rostik, Aleksei Chelpanov is a decent Mayor – at least, he does not openly commit lawlessness. Although the people have complaints against him as well. Because a healthy person may not be in charge of a severely sick municipal administration system,» – the source emphasizes.
It is necessary to note that the investigative and judicial systems of Russia acquit officials suspected of corruption or dismiss criminal cases against them very rarely. Therefore, the story of the ex-Mayor of Yalta is an important precedent: actions of federal law enforcement structures have been annulled at the republican level. The collapse of the case instituted against Andrei Rostenko for large-scale machinations with Yalta lands and handled by seasoned general Tumanov – who had brought to heel oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky – indicates that Moscow is not going to replace the current Crimean authorities anytime soon.