Is ‘father of Sertolovo’ Leonid Kolesnikov gang leader? 

Is ‘father of Sertolovo’ Leonid Kolesnikov gang leader?
‘Father of Sertolovo’ Leonid Kolesnikov has been detained for two months on suspicion of robbery Photo: The CrimeRussia

The CrimeRussia performed an inquest into the operations of the ‘authoritative’ businessman and his role in the ‘restaurant wars’ in St. Petersburg.

On July 19, it became known that a joint operation of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation and Administration of Criminal Investigation of the General Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region of the Russian Federation has resulted in the arrest of seven men, including well-known businessman Leonid Kolesnikov from Sertolovo. The detainees are suspected of offences stipulated in Article 162 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Armed Robbery). The criminal case already includes two episodes: in March, a businessman of the Azerbaijani nationality was robbed in Pesochnoe – his Mitsubishi car and cell phone have been stolen; and in June, an armed assault was made on a shop located on Kultury avenue – goods worth over 1 million rubles ($16.8 thousand) have been stolen.

In the framework of this criminal case, the operatives have performed 38 searches in Sertolovo, its surroundings, and St. Petersburg. The country house of Kolesnikov located in Levashovo township of the Vyborgsky district of St. Petersburg has been searched as well. In the course of the searches, over 4 thousand rounds, 1 grenade launcher, 10 grenades, 1 self-made explosive device with TNT equivalent of 800 g, 18 pistols and submachine guns, 6 machine guns, and 1 foreign-made rifle were seized.

Оружейный тайник в Сертолово

Оружейный тайник в Сертолово

Оружейный тайник в Сертолово

Оружейный тайник в Сертолово

Arms cache in Sertolovo 

The scope of the special operation indicates significant criminal influence of the detainees. Some media suppose that the alleged robberies are only the tip of the iceberg and Leonid Kolesnikov is suspected of creation of so-called ‘Sertolovskaya’ gang. In that case, the businessman is facing charges under Article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (creation of a criminal community (criminal organization) and participation therein) punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of 15 to 20 years or by life imprisonment.

According to the most recent information, Leonid Kolesnikov and his acquaintances Makhyaddim Agaev, Ziyafat Piriev, Khikmet Dzhafarov, Dmitry Gusakov, and Said-mi Ibishev have been detained for two months, until September 17, 2017.

The CrimeRussia performed an inquest into the operations of the ‘authoritative’ businessman and his role in the ‘restaurant wars’ in St. Petersburg.

‘Father of the town’

According to Fontanka.ru, Leonid Kolesnikov is a typical businessman of the 1990s having close friendly ties both with the law enforcement structures and criminal world. For example, Yuri ‘Komar’ (Mosquito) Komarov, leader of ‘Komarovskaya’ organized criminal group, was among the friends of Kolesnikov. Back in the 1980s, the gang had controlled black marketeers and illegal foreign currency traders operating on the Vyborg–Leningrad highway. During the Soviet period, ‘Komar’ had been convicted to prison terms three times, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he was never jailed again. In the 2000s, Komarov quit the criminal business, legalized his assets, and built a mansion near the government country home of the St. Petersburg Governor. In 2010, ‘Komar’ died in Germany at the age of 57.

Юрий Комаров

Yuri Komarov 

According to Focus.kontur.ru, Kolesnikov is the founder of nine organizations; some of those are already closed. One of his main assets is Regina market with the total area of almost 2 thousand square meters located in the center of St. Petersburg. Many Regina cofounders and employees had participated in various elections, for example, Konstantin Zaurovich Goyaev, Deputy Director for Legal Matters and Head of the Legal Department of Regina Limited Liability Company, is a Deputy of the Municipal Duma in the resort town of Kislovodsk. A funny story occurred with Sergei Rukin, a former cofounder of the company, and made him a media personality. His photos were used in a TV spot broadcast by NTV channel and telling about Vladimir Puzikov, son-in-law of Anatoly Serdyukov, suspected of a major embezzlement and put on the federal wanted list. After a call from Rukin, the media have published a refutation, but the photo of Rukin with the name of Puzikov on it had already gone viral on the Internet.

Фотография предпринимателя Сергея Рукина разошлась по интернету как изображение зятя Сердюкова Владимира Пузикова

Photo of businessman Sergei Rukin as a portrait of Vladimir Puzikov, son-in-law of Anatoly Serdyukov, has gone viral on the Internet

In addition, Leonid Kolesnikov owns (owned):

- Leon Limited Liability Company and Metsenat (Philanthropist) Limited Liability Company specializing in drinks trade;

- Ruslan cargo terminal;

- Vozrozhdenie (Renaissance) Limited Liability Company specializing in processing of waste and scrap of precious metals;

- KSK Limited Liability Company specializing in real estate rentals; and

- Status SB private security company – a must-have for any ‘authoritative’ businessman.

Leonid Kolesnikov is actively involved into the social life of the town: he used to be the Chairman of the Public Council for Promotion of Comprehensive Development of Sertolovo Municipal Entity. This organization was closed in 2012. But Kolesnikov is also a cofounder of the Council of Entrepreneurs of the Town of Sertolovo, which is still operational. According to the media, he is one of the most influential people in Sertolovo. Kolesnikov has even been nicknamed ‘father of the town’.

‘Restaurant war’

The conflict between Kolesnikov and his partners on the one part and the Azerbaijani diaspora on the other part has begun a while ago. In 2013, an assassination attempt had been made against the businessman – supposedly, it was a result of so-called ‘restaurant wars’. The Azerbaijani natives and partners of Kolesnikov were carving up locations for restaurants in St. Petersburg.

On April 8, 2013, Kolesnikov drove up in his car to the market, and an unknown person made a shot at him. The weapon was concealed in a bag, while a bottle was used as a silencer – just like in Brat (Brother) movie. But the businessman was very lucky: after the first shot, the weapon got jammed. The discouraged killer has retreated, while chest wounded Kolesnikov fled into the administrative building.

Unsuccessful assassination attempt against Leonid Kolesnikov 

There were several different versions suggesting who could be the mastermind behind this crime. In an interview to NTV channel, people close to the businessman have supposed that this was a revenge of drug dealers – Kolesnikov had waged a war against them being the Chairman of the Township Anti-Drug Council and supporter of Novaya Zhizn (New Life) rehabilitation center of Sergei Matevosyan. According to another version, Aleksander Sobolenko, Head of the Vsevolozhsk District Administration, was the assassin's paymaster. However, Kolesnikov denies any involvement of Sobolenko into this crime.

Ultimately, the investigation has found that the mastermind behind the crime was businessman Il’kham Aliev, a competitor of Kolesnikov nicknamed ‘watermelon king’. He had owned several restaurants in St. Petersburg (Chinar (Sycamore), Tsarsky Dvor (Royal Court), Sufra, etc.) and hundreds of fruit stands. According to some information, Aliev had strong ties with the St. Petersburg Administration.

In early 2012, Usad’ba (Manor) restaurant belonging to businessman Islam Sadygov has been launched near an establishment belonging to Aliev. A conflict has escalated between the two restaurant keepers. Leonid Kolesnikov, being a partner of Sadygov, has volunteered to settle the conflict. The negotiations were unsuccessful, and the stuggle has entered the ‘hot’ phase. In September, unknown persons have burnt Mercedes S-350 belonging to Sadygov and in December, the car of his spouse. Then two men threw Molotov cocktails into Flamingo cafe belonging to Sadygov. On the next night, a counterblow has been delivered – Chinar restaurant belonging to Aliev was set on fire. The outraged ‘watermelon king’ thought that Kolesnikov was behind the attack on his restaurant and decided to strike back and assassinate him.

According to some testimonies, Kolesnikov could not believe that Aliev was the assassin’s paymaster. The Sertolovo businessman has realized that the ‘watermelon king’ was behind this crime only after listening to a recorded conversation between Aliev and the perpetrators provided to him by law enforcement operatives. In that conversation, the Azerbaijani businessman expresses his displeasure over the failed attempt and states that “the task must be accomplished” – although a few days ago, Aliev had personally visited Kolesnikov in the hospital, brought fruits, and wished a speedy recovery.

End of war

A month after the assassination attempt, the police have busted an ethnic gang that had already committed one murder and was preparing for another one. In addition to above-mentioned Aliev, the gang included two more Azerbaijani natives – 44-year-old Gabil Asadov and 43-year-old Khalig Magerramov. The assassins’ paymasters – 29-year-old Andrei Mishenkin and 43-year-old Vyacheslav Kulagin – were arrested later.

The investigation has found that the criminals had killed restaurant keeper Sarkis Petikyan – he was shot dead in May 2012 in his Kamelot (Camelot) restaurant. The crime has been committed a la Hollywood action movies. On the evening of May 27, Petikyan was standing in the courtyard of Kamelot discussing interior details with workers. Then 27-year-old Ilya Sevryugin has approached him and fired point-blank. However, the wounded restaurant keeper has counterattacked the assailant and managed to shot him in the stomach. A brawl has started; the killer was stronger and shot Petikyan five times. Petikyan dropped dead. Sevryugin had tried to escape – but younger brother of the victim Hachatur Petikyan rushed to chase him. After a short pursuit, Petikyan managed to block the killer’s car and secure him. However, the assassin could not be interrogated because he died from the received wound on the way.

Саркис Петикян

Sarkis Petikyan 

The law enforcement authorities have caught the two remaining perpetrators of that crime – 38-year-old Roman Bogdanov and 34-year-old Aleksei Averin. It turned out later that Petikyan was killed by mistake – in fact, the assassins had been contracted to dispatch businessman Muradyan. The police managed to prevent this murder.

The court has delivered a verdict in the criminal cases instituted against the gang only in August 2016. Il’kham Aliev has been sentenced to 10 years in a maximum security regime penal colony, while the other gang members – to prison terms of 10.5 to 14 years depending on the gravity of their offences.

It is unknown yet whether the arrest of Kolesnikov is somehow related to the ‘restaurant wars’. The CrimeRussia will continue monitoring the career of ‘father of Sertolovo’.

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