Family of ex-Tula region governor becomes sole owner of store chain

Family of ex-Tula region governor becomes sole owner of store chain
Photo: Aleksandr Nikolaev / Interpress / TASS

After Ilya Shcherbovich’s United Capital Partners went out of business, the Gruzdevs family became the owner of more than 99% of Modny Kontinent JSC.

The United Capital Partners (UCP) investment group controlled by Ilya Shcherbovich has sold its equity stake in Modny Kontinent JSC, which operates the retail chains Incity (clothing) and Deseo (underwear). As reported by RBC referring to Director General of Modny Kontinent Olga Tatarchenkova, the buyer was the former Tula region governor's mother, Nelli Gruzdeva, whose share rose to 86%. Now the Gruzdevs family owns more than 99% of Modny Kontinent.

Both parties keep the details of the transaction secret. According to Rosstat, to which the SPARK database refers, UCP had a 29.73% stake in Modny Kontinent.

To recall, the UCP group acquired a 10-percent stake in Modny Kontinent in 2007. In 2016, the group attempted to sell its stake in Sisal Artis Holdings, registered in the Seychelles, whose beneficiaries are unknown. The transaction did not take place, as the seller was unable to provide information about the ultimate beneficiary in Modny Kontinent. Unconfirmed reports suggest that it was Governor Vladimir Gruzdev himself who supervised the activities of the company, but he refuted this information.

In 2018, Modny Kontinent’s CEO was replaced twice. Since November 2016, this position has been occupied by Mikhail Landyshev. In April last year, Pyotr Kazorin (board member) became director general. In late 2018, Kazorin was replaced by Olga Tatarchenkova.

It should be added that in 1994, Vladimir Gruzdev became one of the founders of the grocery retail network Sedmoy Kontinent (‘The Seventh Continent’). In 2001, he became a deputy of the Moscow City Duma, and in 2003, a State Duma deputy. From 2011 to 2016, Gruzdev was Tula region governor. For this, he had to give up control of Modny Kontinent – his closest relatives became its main owners. Forbes estimates Gruzdev’s fortune at $750 million.

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