Construction sites abandoned by Governor Golubev’s team
Why are the regional authorities so impotent, while swindlers perform their scams in broad daylight in front of Rostov officials?
The issue of hoodwinked construction co-investors is crucial in the Krasnodar krai – the Regional Prosecutor’s Office speaks of 2.5 thousand citizens cheated by dishonest developers, but in fact, this number may be much higher. According to some information, 50 builders have shunned the responsibility for unfinished shared-equity construction projects. Hoodwinked co-investors of the following Krasnodar residential complexes are striving to get their apartments or money back: Rich House, Fort Karasun, Snezhnaya Koroleva (Snow Queen), Tauras-96, Garantiya (Guarantee), Kurortny Bereg (Resort Shore), Territoriya Schastia (Territory of Happiness), etc. Mass pickets and hunger strikes are ongoing, lawsuits have been filed and criminal cases institutes – but the overall situation is not changing.
The construction business has collapsed in the region amid the instruction from Vladimir Putin to solve the issue of hoodwinked construction co-investors by 2018.
As it is known, in April 2017, the Kirovsky District Court of Rostov-on-Don has sentenced Valery Chabanov, owner of VANT construction corporate group, only to 4.5 years in a penal colony settlement. The businessman was found guilty of swindling (part 3 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The investigation and court have determined that the founder of VANT had embezzled over 300 million rubles ($5.3 million) belonging to 235 construction co-investors. According to CrimeRussia sources, the stolen amount was much higher.
Spouses Chabanov have developed a scheme: contractors of their construction group had to build homes using not their own or borrowed funds – but the funds provided by co-investors. Companies of the construction group did not even have building permits for the homes – while spouses Chabanov had demanded them to open more and more ground zero construction sites (construction pits) and attract via VANT more and more co-investors whose funds were later embezzled. Upon grabbing enough money, Chabanov, his wife Nadezhda, and son Andrei have disappeared and were put on the Interpol wanted list.
Nadezhda Chabanova was arrested in the United Arab Emirates in July 2015, but her extradition to Russia is still pending. Valery Chabanov was arrested in the resort city of Pattaya in Thailand in February 2016 and extradited to Russia. Their son Andrei Chabanov, ex-Deputy of the Rostov-on-Don Municipal Duma representing Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party, is still on the lose. According to insider information, he had contracted a series of murders of criminal ‘authorities’ in Rostov and has been charged in absentia under Article 105 (murder) and Article 209 (banditry) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
Valery Chabanov was in the Interpol
Construction co-investors of the troubled residential complex located at 24 1st Barrikadnaya street, Rostov-on-Don have also become victims of the Chabanov family – above-mentioned VANT was supposed to build the first phase of the complex. Numerous protest rallies, hunger strikes, and petitions to the regional authorities submitted by the co-investors have seemingly resulted in a happy end. In December 2012, in the presence of Vasily Golubev, Governor of the Rostov Region, and hoodwinked co-investors, the first stone has been laid in the foundation of the second phase of the residential complex. The regional authorities intended to use the funds collected to build the second phase of the complex to solve the issue with the co-investors of the first phase as well.
The Administration of the Rostov Region has stated that this is a sharp evidence that the issue of hoodwinked co-investors is being successfully solved in the Rostov region because the Governor is closely monitoring it. But later the words stopped meeting the actions.
It turned out that the customer of that construction project was Maria company affiliated with runaway Valery Chabanov, owner of VANT construction corporate group. Later Stroyspektr company under the leadership of Director Nikolai Dubovik started attracting funds of co-investors. In order to control the construction and participate in the co-investment, the regional authorities have joined this project via infamous Rostov Regional Mortgage Corporation (RRMC) Joint Stock Company; the Administration of the Rostov Region was also its primary founder. Contrary to the law, even being on the verge of bankruptcy in 2015, RRMC still continued signing shared co-investment construction agreements.
One would think: who would dare to swindle in broad daylight in front of the officials? But despite the participation of RRMC in the project, the construction works have stopped in February 2016. A well-informed source told the CrimeRussia some facts that might be of interest for law enforcement authorities. The source claims that in the course of the construction project on Barrikadnaya street, Egor Parakhin, son-in-law of convicted Valery Chabanov, owner of VANT corporation, had acted as the ‘Grey Eminence’ and ‘fixer’ of issues arising between the investors, builders, and regional authorities. According to the co-investors, Parakhin had pretended to represent the builder – Stroyspektr Limited Liability Company – that was signing, jointly with RRMC, the shared co-investment construction agreements with the defrauded residents of Rostov. Rumors say that Parakhin is a powerful figure. He can brush away any complaints – either from the co-investors or Regional Administration. And now regional officials make helpless gestures at meetings with the hoodwinked people.
According to the co-investors, Igor Guskov, Vice Governor of the Rostov Region, has admitted at one of the meetings that the people had been defrauded again and their money stolen. These words of the officials were recorded on a dictophone. It is unclear though who had defrauded the citizens and why are the regional authorities so impotent. The officials are looking for any ways to fulfil the task set by the Russian President, and the solution is likely to involve above-mentioned Egor Parakhin who is currently trying to lobby his settlement scheme though the Rostov Administration. The suggested scheme is as follows: there is a building; a part of apartments in it is already sold. People are literally ‘forced’ to join this residential construction cooperative – and their names are removed from the register of hoodwinked co-investors. Then an investor is identified without the approval of the co-investors. After the completion of the building, as per court verdict, one apartment is allocated to five co-investors who had earlier purchased apartments in that building. In other words, instead of the apartment, a co-investor is about to get only a few square meters. After the sale of the apartment, he/she would get 500–700 thousand rubles ($8.8–12.3 thousand) maximum instead of the invested millions.
Something to report to the President
Those involved into the fraud against the hoodwinked co-investors would invent new sham schemes over time and gain profits from their own unfinished projects – while the citizens are to be deprived of their prepaid apartments by getting next to nothing instead of full-scale residences. There are indications that the above scheme is already being used in Rostov-on-Don; furthermore, the co-investors claim that it is actively promoted by Egor Parakhin – a person close to the swindler who had already defrauded them. It is not surprising, therefore, that Valery Chabanov, founder of VANT construction corporation, has got such a light sentence. And while the games are played around the hoodwinked citizens lured by the promises to complete their apartments, some persons, including officials of the Administration of the Rostov Region, are making good money on that.
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