Battle for Moscow: how FSB General Dorofeev protects his territory from Head of the Moscow City Court Egorova
Head of the Federal Security Service Directorate in Moscow and the Moscow region, Aleksey Dorofeev, who was frequently mentioned in connection with the Golunov case, has begun an almost open confrontation with Head of the Moscow City Court, Olga Egorova. Is this a war of power clans or a banal attempt to divide Kantemir Karamzin, the perpetrator of illegal seizures accused of fraud? Is everything limited to financial interest or is it Dorofeev’s last desperate attempt to avoid responsibility, believing that he was framed? The CrimeRussia looked into the matter.
Just a couple of days after it became known about the complaint of Colonel General Aleksey Dorofeev addressed to Prosecutor of the Moscow region Sergey Zabaturin against judges and “individual leaders” of the Moscow City Court, the Supreme Court took the side of Head of the FSB of the Moscow region. To recall, in the letter, which became known to RBC, the general told the prosecutor about the possible assistance of Moscow judges to raider seizures carried out by lawyer Kantemir Karamzin. As a result, the Supreme Court referred the consideration of the appeal to the Cheryomushkinsky court, which canceled the criminal prosecution of Karamzin in the Moscow Regional Court, indirectly confirming its agreement with the charges of Dorofeev.
To recall, Karamzin was arrested in April this year on charges of part 1 of Art. 30, part 4 of Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code (Attempt at Bribe-Taking on an Especially Large Scale). According to the investigation, since 2007, he has been forging loan agreements, using which he was able to sue more than 46 million rubles ($705,256), not without the assistance of the Moscow City Court.
Kantemir Karamzin (real name Artur Kokaev) is a notorious individual. He began his career in the 90s as a seller in one of the markets of Kamchatka. Then he managed to appropriate two grocery stores during the privatization auctions. Later, he became director of Noble Technologies Limited, co-owner of Detektor Lzhi CJSC and Kamchatsky Medved’ LLC (legal entity consisting of one employee), as well as co-founder of the now liquidated LLC Mezhdunarodnaya Lotereynaya Kompaniya (‘International Lottery Company’).
He tried to get to the State Duma from the Kamchatka region, but to no avail. Karamzin was head of the election headquarters of the candidate for the post of governor of the Kamchatka region, businessman Georgy Greshnykh, whose campaign was accompanied by numerous scandals.
He calls himself a lawyer, although the Federal Chamber of Lawyers of the Russian Federation (FPA) has recently released an official report stating that “Kantemir Karamzin, known as a lawyer in Kamchatka, does not have a lawyer’s status.” We did not find confirmation of his status in the lawyers’ chambers of other regions, either.
Nevertheless, Karamzin does conduct legal practice. In the early 2000s, he was noted in legal disputes with the mayor’s office of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, as well as with the governor and chief of the Kamchatka Department of Internal Affairs. But he became infamous all over the country after the eviction of the George Soros Foundation (Open Society Institute) from its Moscow office on Ozerkovskaya embankment. In the case, Karamzin sided with Canadian investor Marc Richards, who set the condition for the Foundation to either buy back the $1.4 million building for $15 million or get out. President of the institute, Ekaterina Genieva, stated that the lease contract had been forged. The trial lasted several years. Eventually, the court ruled that the Foundation could remain in the building on the same terms.
Karamzin in a uniform
Karamzin did something similar, but more successfully, with the Military Construction Administration of Moscow (VSUM), a large strategic enterprise owned by the Ministry of Defense. In late 2008, VSUM management found that part of the management subsidiaries, on the balance of which there were real estate in Moscow and Mytishchi, were re-registered to other companies and then resold to offshore companies Tanzanit Holdings Inc., AM-International Corporation Ltd., and Kithia Limited. It is noteworthy that these same companies also appeared during the illegal seizure attempt on the building on Ozerkovskaya embankment.
Later, Karamzin was spotted in the division of the development assets of Fobos LLC and ISK Stolitsa-Group LLC and even became a defendant in the criminal case of Swindling on an Especially Large Scale Committed by a Group of Persons by Previous Concert. In both companies, interconnected by common founders, an internal conflict arose, during which some of the owners – brothers Dmitry and Aleksey Barzanov – decided to con others. However, they ended up losing their companies; Dmitry Barzanov was even put in jail. Karamzin nearly became the beneficiary in the whole situation. But was failed by Barzanov, who told the investigation that he specially hired the lawyer to resolve a business conflict. During a search in Karamzin’s office, investigators seized a huge number of fake seals, stamps and letterheads of courts, notaries, and registration authorities. Despite this, in 2015, Karamzin-Kokaev was acquitted by the same Moscow City Court.
Thus the lawyer managed to come off clear for a long time until his interests happen to be aligned with Head of DSK-1 JSC Vladimir Kopelev. It is noteworthy that Karamzin often chose crooked people as his victims.
Kopelev worked at the House-Building Plant No. 1 almost from the moment of its foundation – since 1965. In 1982, he became general director of this large company, which has built more than 55 million square meters of housing in Moscow and the Moscow region. In the 90s, due to his ties with Luzhkov, Kopelev repeated the fate of the so-called “red directors,” suddenly becoming a billionaire thanks to privatization. Having gained full control over the plant’s shares, he and DSK-1 lawyer Igor Panteleev took all the profits offshore, becoming the largest owner of elite real estate in Europe and America by the time he retired in 2008.
In mid-2000s, part of his shares worth 50 million Swiss francs was bought by Richards and Karamzin. The transaction was carried out with the already mentioned Noble Technologies Limited (the successor of which is the Swiss company Kithia Limited), and the money under the agreement was transferred to the account of Kopelev's Swiss lawyer, Martin Bukhli. Bukhli used the money to acquire part of real estate, as well as shares of Swiss companies, on behalf of Kopelev. However, Kopelev was in no hurry to fulfill his obligations to partners, and in 2010, the parties terminated the 2004 agreement on the sale of shares.
According to a new document, Kopelev recognized a debt to Noble Technologies Limited in the total amount of 241 million Swiss francs, which was based on an assessment of the plant’s market value at that time and interest on the use of money at the average bank rate. The guarantee obligation signed by the owner of DSK-1 promised a refund with interest by 2016. In a conversation with his lawyer Bukhli, whose transfer was later available to his former partners, Kopelev admitted that he decided to terminate the transaction and incur large costs so as not to return the money to Karamzin and Richards. He hoped to sell the plant’s shares at a higher price and cover all expenses within a few years. However, he began to prepare a scheme for concealing property from creditors in the event of a legal dispute. According to the most conservative estimates, his fortune was about 1 billion Swiss francs back then. In Liechtenstein, the Vladko Family Foundation was created, the only beneficiary of which was Kopelev. His Russian property was registered to companies under investment assignment agreements so that it could not be seized in the event of their bankruptcy.
Kopelev explained the claims to him by the machinations of unknown (?) fraudsters, who issued fictitious documents for the sale of shares using blank sheets with his signature from 2004 to 2016. He admitted that in 2004, he entered into a contract with Noble Technologies Limited, under which he sold it 4,500 registered uncertified shares in the amount of $21 million. But in 2010, his partners allegedly prepared a fictitious agreement on the termination of the contract of sale, and it turned out that Kopelev was already supposed to return 241 million Swiss francs (more than 15 billion rubles at the exchange rate for 2016). Since he never transferred the money, the materials of the case instituted at his request stated that “the crime was not accomplished due to circumstances beyond the fraudsters’ control.”
Nevertheless, Richards and Karamzin filed a lawsuit against Kopelev and won the dispute as a result of a fierce judicial war. Rosarbitrazh found Kopelev and related parties insolvent in the suit of Kithia Limited and obliged them to pay 15 billion rubles ($230 million) to creditors. Bankruptcy proceedings were introduced in relation to Kopelev.
Karamzin on trial
At some point in the lawsuit, Kopelev appealed to the Presnensky District Court of Moscow to annul the clearly unjust decision of the arbitration, but Kithia Limited appealed the decision of the Presnensky court in the Moscow City Court. The decision of the first instance was quashed, and the case was sent for a new trial. As it is now believed, Karamzin’s ties with Head of the Moscow City Court Olga Egorova could affect this.
Everything would have been fine and this story would have continued – Karamzin would have won suits, and Kopelev would have failed to pay – but in 2016, he sold the shares of the company to the beneficiaries of Lider FSK JSC, the father and son Vladimir and Aleksandr Voronin. And so, when the court arrested the shares of DSK-1 and the interests of the new owners were threatened, Head of the FSB Directorate in Moscow and the Moscow region Dorofeev and his subordinate, Head of the Department ‘M,’ Colonel Sergey Natarov, joined the game. Karamzin himself later mentioned their names.
It was then that the author of biographical books about Putin appeared again (Vladimir Putin. The History of Life and Vladimir Putin. The Path to Power) Oleg Blotsky, who initiated a case against Karamzin back in 2014, but since the applicant’s testimony was the only evidence, all these years it wandered around various investigative departments, either being terminated or reopened again. As early as in 2007, an interest-free loan agreement was concluded between Blotsky and Karamzin, according to which the lawyer borrowed $115 thousand from the writer. Moreover, according to Blotsky’s statement, he returned the money, after which, according to the investigation, Karamzin “had an intention to steal funds on a particularly large scale,” and the lawyer made a similar fake contract worth $200 thousand. With this contract, Karamzin appealed to the court with a request for the recovery of funds. The civil lawsuit was transferred to the Cheryomushkinsky district court, which ruled to recover money from Blotsky. This decision was confirmed by the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, in April this year, the investigation was resumed again. Karamzin, who was living in Miami, was lured to Russia, where he was detained by FSB officers. To exclude his connection with Moscow courts, all hearings were held in the Balashikha district court, and he was placed in a Sergiev Posad pre-trial detention center. His partner Richards was smart enough not to visit Russia under any pretext.
FSB Colonel General Aleksey Dorofeev graduated from the Leningrad Mechanical Institute and then went to serve in the KGB, working in the city structures of the state security department of Leningrad and St. Petersburg. In 2005, he headed the FSB Directorate for Karelia. He was removed from this post after the riots in Kondopoga in 2006, but soon moved to Moscow. In 2010–2012, Dorofeev headed the Department ‘M’ of the FSB, which subsequently engaged in the operation to rout the General Administration for Economic Security and Combatting the Corruption (GUEBiPK). In 2012, he headed the FSB Main Directorate in the Moscow region.
This decision was confirmed by the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, in April this year, the investigation was resumed again. Karamzin, who was living in Miami, was lured to Russia, where he was detained by FSB officers. To exclude his connection with Moscow courts, all hearings were held in the Balashikha district court, and he was placed in a Sergiev Posad pre-trial detention center. His partner Richards was smart enough not to visit Russia under any pretext.
The fact that practically no investigative actions have been carried out over the past six months indicates the extent to which this investigation is related to the Blotsky case. In addition, according to Karamzin’s lawyers, all this time, unbearable conditions of detention and exerted pressure were deliberately created for him. He was constantly searched, forced to undress completely, beaten, and refused proper medical care (despite the fact that he suffers from diabetes). He was not allowed to see lawyers, and the prison management did not respond to his requests for help when a mentally unhealthy prisoner placed in the same cell with the lawyer threatened to kill him, beat him, and spoiled his belongings. In addition, according to Karamzin, on July 19, during a visit of FSB officers, who introduced themselves as Major Ushakov and Colonel Ivanov (it is possible that their names were fictitious), to the isolation ward, he was beaten and received insults, blackmail, extortion and death threats. The statement says that the high-ranking person, with whom the lawyer was allowed to talk on the phone, promised him that he would “die in prison” and “get 17 years and added 6 more charges” if he did not withdraw the lawsuit against DSK-1 from the court. As a result, Karamzin even turned to the Russian president with a request to influence the situation.
At the moment, a check is being conducted into these facts upon instructions from the Prosecutor General's Office.
Karamzin’s defense intends to move him to Moscow and appeal the decision to change the jurisdiction in the Judicial Collegium of the Supreme Court. Lawyer Marina Gromova points to numerous procedural violations and considers the decision made by the judge of the Supreme Court on changing the territorial jurisdiction of the case to be legal nonsense and an attempt to introduce new law enforcement practice, and the letter of General Dorofeev, which served as a catalyst for the processes, unfounded and unfounded.
Especially since the FSB general clearly acts as an interested party. One of the versions is that his zeal may be due to the fact that he thus protects his assets. Allegedly, at the stage of concluding a deal with Lider, Dorofeev invested his personal money in the purchase of DSK-1 shares, and did so through Rosselkhozbank controlled by security officers.
Another version is that Dorofeev and friends are executing an order. According to Sobesednik, it is under his authority that the so-called “FSB Boutique” operates. It is a famous place in Moscow, where you can order a criminal case against a competitor for very big money. Karamzin’s head was estimated at $10 million.
Now, apparently, a third version can be put forward. Dorofeev is making a play specifically against Egorova, trying to turn a “case of Karamzin’s lawyer” into a “case of judges.” As Gromov’s lawyer notes, “Karamzin is a pawn in someone else's game.”
Olga Egorova has been head of the Moscow City Court since 2000. She moved from secretary, administrative office head, and consultant in the Oktyabrsky (now Gagarinsky) People's Court of Moscow to people's judge and chairwoman of the judicial board for civil cases of the Moscow City Court. Some sources say she was promoted to her current position by previous Chairwoman of the Moscow City Court, Zoya Korneva, whose close relation to Egorova was repeatedly noted by the press. Her further integration into the power system was not without the help of her husband, FSB Lieutenant General Sergey Egorov, who died in 2012. Last few years of his life, he worked as deputy head of the FSB Academy.
Over the past 20 years, the Moscow City Court under the leadership of Egorova has finally been given the name “Moscow City Stamp,” reflecting the situation when the outcome of cases was influenced by calls “from above.” Seven years ago, Chairman of the Commission of the Public Chamber for monitoring the activities and reforming of law enforcement bodies and the judicial system Anatoly Kucherena openly called on Egorova to voluntarily resign. A deputy of the Moscow City Duma and a member of the commission on law and order Oleg Bocharov unambiguously hinted at Egorova’s dependence, saying that “the Moscow City Court plays a special role in political life. Through it, all elective decisions will be conducted, a lot of collisions will be revealed. It will be in the will of the Moscow City Court to allow some people to participate in the election race and say no to others. If the chairman is not one of us – for example, they are not from our “team” – the consequences can be sad. We cannot allow pilgrims here!”
Returning to Dorofeev's hints about her connection with Karamzin, even the head of the FSB Directorate in Moscow and the Moscow region did not present direct evidence of this. Some sources say the lawyer was engaged in horse riding with the judge’s daughter in the same club near Moscow, Novy Vek. We also found a certain Anna Sergeevna Egorova in the documents of KSK; she was a participant in various competitions among amateurs.
And the fact that the Moscow City Court often took the side more profitable to Egorova and even went in contradiction with the FSB was actually proven before. For example, according to human rights defender Olga Romanova, during the hearing of the case of embezzlement at Mezhprombank involving the now fugitive banker Sergey Pugachev, many high-profile representatives of state-owned banks and banks associated with the state, several officials, and even one acting judge were mentioned. However, the only defendant was Director General of OPK Development – a company associated with Mezhprombank – Dmitry Amunts, who was accused of embezzling 29 billion rubles ($444.8 million) and sentenced to 7 years’ imprisonment.
According to Romanova, despite his authority, he turned out to be perhaps the “safest” of the entire list of citizens who were under cultivation by the FSB in the case. Of all defendants, he was least involved in the bank. The Tverskoy Court of Moscow held dozens of senior citizens free from liability, whom regular law enforcers might have some serious questions to ask.
Kantemir Karamzin and Dmitry Peskov
According to Romanova, this happened because Galina Avanesova was head of the legal department of Mezhprombank and deputy manager of Mezhprombank for legal issues (since 2003). That is, it was her who supervised all schemes and agreements of the bank. When the bank and Pugachev personally began to have problems, she changed her job, becoming a judge in the Moscow City Court as part of the judicial board for civil cases. But the interesting part is that lawyer Anna Sergeyevna Golovenko, 1978, nee Egorova, worked at Mezhprombank under the direction of Galina Avanesova for many years. According to Romanova, the daughter of Chairwoman of the Moscow City Court Olga Egorova ended her career with Pugachev as head of the legal department of the United Industrial Corporation (before that, she worked at Mezhprombank). After Pugachev left Russia, she joined Rosneft.
Alleged daughter of Olga Egorova, Anna
In the light of what is happening now, all this gives reason to believe that Egorova can actually be a representative of a certain power clan. Let us add the assumption made by the Telegram channel Nezygar’ that the billionaire brothers Kovalchuk belong to the same group, since it is through the media controlled by them (through Grigory Berezkin) such as RBC and Komsomolskaya Pravda that the main flow of information on the Karamzin case passes, whom the publications describe as a victim.
According to The CrimeRussia’s source, Dorofeev, who got burned in the Golunov case, decided not wait for the next step of the opponents and struck a blow at them, “turning against” the leadership of the Moscow City Court. Especially since the general considers Moscow his territory, and Egorova gave a convenient reason for the attack.
To recall, an investigation by Meduza journalist Ivan Golunov describes Dorofeev as one of the main “protectors” of the extremely criminalized funeral business in the capital and the region. The sources of the publication confirmed that it was the general who was behind the appointment of Artyom Yekimov as head of the Moscow State Budgetary Institution Ritual.
The father of Dorofeev’s advisor, influential silovik Marat Medoev, Igor, is a close friend of the person from the Magnitsky list, FSB General Viktor Voronin, who headed the Department ‘K,’ which is responsible for control in the banking sector, until 2016. Bank owners have repeatedly accused Voronin of attempting an illegal seizure on their assets. In addition, Dorofeev knows Voronin well. In late 2000s, they went from St. Petersburg to Moscow together; in the period from 2010 to 2012, they both headed the departments of the FSB Economic Security Service.
At this point, the story gets perfectly looped. Viktor Voronin was once on the Magnitsky list, as he initiated a criminal case against the leaders of Hermitage Capital Management, whose lawyer was Sergey Magnitsky, who died in prison. Many people have already noted these analogies with the current case of Karamzin. In both cases, there is a lawyer; the Magnitsky case had FSB General Voronin, and here we have Dorofeev; there was investor Browder, and here we have Richardson. Although, as noted by RBC journalist Maksim Solopov, this troubled story does not justify the death of “a citizen of Russia who is not actually dangerous to anyone.” Now the story threatens to repeat itself again.
Karamzin, who so loved to con others, has suddenly became a coin to exchange. It seems that now his fate depends on how far Dorofeev is ready to go. Especially given that according to the FSB General, the detention of Golunov and the ensuing scandal could be completely inspired by the other side to discredit him. In this case, not only money is at stake now (does not matter whether it is the money in the form of disputed assets or payment for an order), but also his position as head of Moscow FSB.
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