“Me and my shadow”: What is the purpose of another pre-renovation fund?
According to the Bill on Dilapidated Housing Renovation, a special organization – the Fund for Housing Renovation Support in the City of Moscow – shall control the demolition of old buildings and resettlement of residents (paragraph 3 of Article 1 of the Bill). On April 26, another structure with a similar name – the Fund for Support of Programs and Projects of Renovation and Reconstruction of Apartment Buildings in the City of Moscow – has been established. What people are behind it? How are they going to affect the future of 1.6 million Moscow residents? What do Yukos, Polonsky, and ex-wife of Sechin have to do with it? See details in our exclusive investigation.
The announcement of the renovation program has caused lots of buzz. Despite the slogans about the improvement of living conditions of citizens proclaimed by the Moscow Government, the mass reaction of people was: “they are going to seize our apartments”. The publication of the bill has caused even more public stir – its text was raw, unarticulated, and drastically different from the statements made earlier by the Moscow Government. Some lawyers and journalists have analyzed what was promised and what is to be done and explained the people in an intelligible form what risks are they facing. In brief, the Moscow authorities can demolish virtually any building and resettle its resident to any other building. The wordings of the bill were very vague and subjective. It is also necessary to note that its original text did not stipulate a possibility to appeal the decisions of the Moscow Government in court.
The key element of the bill is the provision for a plenipotentiary executive body responsible for the renovation – the Fund for Housing Renovation Support in the City of Moscow (hereinafter Fund 1). In particular, the bill states that “the Fund shall perform acquisitions of goods, works, and services essential to achieve the Fund goals in accordance with the Regulation on Fund’s Acquisitions approved by the Fund management, regulation of the City of Moscow, and/or Charter of the Fund”.
“The Fund can be authorized by a regulation of the City of Moscow to act as the builder and attract monetary funds of citizens and legal entities for construction (creation) of an apartment building on the basis of co-funded construction agreements”.
In other words, Fund 1 can make acquisitions based on the charter produced by itself and for itself. The Moscow Government shall be responsible its operations. It is necessary to keep in mind that the budget of the renovation program is 3.5 trillion rubles ($61.6 billion), which provides enormous opportunities for corruption crimes.
The new fund has attracted attention of our colleagues from the Center of Anti-Corruption Policy of Yabloko Party. According to Aleksei Karnaukhov, Deputy Head of the Center, the main concern is the possibility to bypass the governmental acquisitions system. This involves a number of negative implications, including lack of control by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation. It is logical to assume that requirements of the fund’s internal acquisitions regulations would be more lax in comparison with the requirements set in the Federal Law № 44 “On the Contract System”. Furthermore, the personnel of Fund 1 are not civil servants and do not have to report their incomes to the public. Karnaukhov believes that governmental officials are to join the fund management and exercise control over it “on a pro-bono basis”. The expert claims that such favorable rules contradict the existing anti-corruption standards.
As said above, another structure with a similar name – the Fund for Support of Programs and Projects of Renovation and Reconstruction of Apartment Buildings in the City of Moscow (hereinafter Fund 2) – has been established on April 26. It turned out soon that Fund 2 has no relation to Fund 1 stipulated in the bill. Vera Moskvina, a representative of Fund 2 and Director of the Association of Apartment Owners and Holders of Special Accounts for Capital Renovation Funds Accumulation in the City of Moscow, told in a comment to Life.ru that this is an independent movement in support of the renovation. According to her, Fund 2 intends to provide free resettlement and legal assistance to residents, etc. Moskvina has specially noted that Fund 2 had been established “not to generate money” and shall be funded by “the business”. We will address this ‘business’ willing to spend money on such a structure in more detail below.
The CrimeRussia has reviewed the list of Fund 2 founders and discovered plenty of interesting things in it. It is necessary to note that so far, no offences against the law were committed – but Moscow must know the people who determine its fate.
The first alarming sign is the absence of contact information – the organization neither has a phone number nor a web site. Perhaps, this is because it has been established just recently and does not have communications tools yet? Another interesting point is the address of Fund 2. For efficient and productive work and implementation of the announced goals, such an organization needs a spacious office hosting the staff, equipment, call center, reception rooms to receive citizens seeking assistance or consultation, etc. But apparently, the management of Fund 2 decided that all this superfluity is not really necessary and registered the organization at the following address: room 3, apartment 5, building 1, 11 Kibalchicha street, Moscow – i.e. in one of the rooms (!!!) of an apartment in a residential 5-storey building.
Fund 2 has been registered in this building
Ironically, but this building is subject to demolition – a poll among its residents is currently ongoing.
The building hosting Fund 2 is subject to demolition
How Fund 2 is going to solve this dilemma? Is it going to vote against the demolition (i.e. against the renovation program it is supposed to support) or for the demolition (thus, losing its legal address)?
It is as easy as pie to build castles in the sky
The management structure of Fund 2 is very complicated: the list of its founders includes 10 individuals and 2 organizations: the Association of Apartment Owners and Holders of Special Accounts for Capital Renovation Funds Accumulation in the City of Moscow and Stroykonsolidatsia Builders Association. Above-mentioned Vera Moskvina is the Director of the first association; she is a passionate proponent of the renovation program. Moskvina gained notoriety after her emotional statements and tough talk aimed at opponents. In particular, she said at one of the sessions that it is necessary to “lop off hands” of those protesting against the demolition. She also added that “we have been playing a democracy for too long” and it is necessary to vote for the “decisions already made”.
The majority of Fund 2 founders are members of Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party who actively campaign for the demolition, including:
· Sergei Alekseevich Ladochkin, Head of the Edinaya Rossia Executive Committee for the Northern Administrative District of Moscow and founder of RitsArtStroy construction company;
· Anton Aleksandrovich Morozov, Secretary of the Primary Branch № 9 (Sokol);
· Vitaly Konstantinovich Ponomarev, Director of the Engineering Service of the Beskudnikovsky District State Budgetary Institution;
· Aleksander Alekseevich Maidobura, Secretary of the Primary Branch in the Koptevo District and General Director of Business TransCompany Limited Liability Company; and
· Valery Gennadievich Semenov, member of the Civic Chamber of the City of Moscow, Deputy Chairman of the Commission for Housing and Public Utility Infrastructure Development of the Civic Chamber of the City of Moscow.
Aleksander Vladimirovich Shindyapin, a founder of Fund 2, deserves close attention. In the end of the 2000s – beginning of the 2010s, his name was frequently mentioned in the Russian media. In 2000, Shindyapin was a shareholder in Elektromashina State Research and Production Organization. By 2011, he has acquired 25.2% of shares in this enterprise. In addition, Shindyapin used to be the General Director of YukosTransServis, a subsidiary company of Yukos (later of Rosneft) specializing in provision of transportation services to Rosneft enterprises. He lost this high position in June 2011. Kommersant believes that the reason behind his termination was the “purge of the ranks” by Rosneft in order to get rid of people who used to work for the previous owners.
Aleksander Shindyapin is well-known in Moscow as well: according to Ura.ru, he used to be a Vice President of Sodbuznesbank. In 2004, the Bank of Russia has revoked its license for financial machinations. According to Andrei Kozlov, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia, Sodbuznesbank had performed large-scale operations with questionable economic substance; experience shows that such operations are used for tax evasion, illegal exports of capital, cashing out, and ‘laundering’ of monies of suspicious origin. In fact, Sodbuznesbank was the first Russian bank shut down for money laundering. For two weeks, the bank personnel had denied access into the building for the interim administration; ultimately the old staff were escorted out by riot police.
Two years later, Kozlov was killed – in September 2016, unknown persons have gunned down his car inflicting fatal wounds to the banker and his driver. The driver died on the scene, while Kozlov succumbed to his injuries in hospital. The crime was solved in 2007 – Aleksei Frenkel has been named the mastermind behind this murder. He was found guilty and sentenced to 19 years behind bars. According to the investigation, the main motive for the crime was the deprivation of VIP-Bank and Sodbuznesbank of their licenses. Media wrote that Frenkel was involved into the foundation of these banks and sustained multimillion losses after their shutdown.
Andrei Kozlov (right) has laid the foundations of anti-money laundering and paid for that with his life
Oleg Tkachev, President of Fund 2, is the most mysterious figure in this entire story. Prior to becoming the President of a pro-renovation organization, he had only one individual enterprise registered in his name. But less than in a month after the establishmen of Fund 2, he became a cofounder of Tat-Kapital Limited Liability Company. According to its declared information, this company specializes in “commercial and management consulting”. The list of Tat-Kapital founders includes some Violetta Tokareva and Dmitry Antonenko; both of them are pretty ‘special’ persons.
Tokareva is a former Deputy Head of the Municipal Property Department of the City of Moscow – both the official web sites of the Moscow Government and Tokareva’s personal pages on social networks confirm this. Pursuant to her high position, the lady was a member of boards of directors in major companies: Vnukovo International Airport, Intourist, Mosstroyvozrozhdenie Open Joint Stock Company, Moscow Gostiny Dvor (Old Merchant Court) Open Joint Stock Company, Mosdachtrest Open Joint Stock Company, etc. In addition, in January 2013, she was a member of the Commission of the Moscow Government for Urban Planning, Land Use, and Development in the Troitsky and Novomoskovsky Administrative Districts of Moscow.
Dmitry Antonenko is a famous figure in the construction industry. He used to be the General Director of Upravlenie (Management) Management Company and left this post two weeks prior to the incorporation of Tat-Kapital. In addition, according to our source in law enforcement structures, Antonenko used to serve in the General Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation; his direct superior was Denis Sugrobov sentenced to 22 years behind bars on April 24.
Upravlenie Management Company that was managed by Antonenko as recently as a month ago is a governing structure in one of the largest development companies of Russia – FTsSR Closed Joint Stock Company specializing in residential and commercial construction and sales. In 20 years, the company has built over 1 million square meters of space.
FTsSR was the general developer of Kutuzovskaya Milya (Kutuzovsky Avenue Mile) project also known as Triumfalny (Triumphal) neighborhood; it had enticed Avanta company belonging to Sergei Polonsky as an investor. The story has ultimately resulted in a high-profile scandal, including criminal cases instituted against Polonsky and Petr Ivanov, ex-General Director of FTsSR. The CrimeRussia had addressed the conflict between Polonsky and FTsSR in more detail in its earlier publications. An important nuance is that in June 2016, Marina Sechina, ex-wife of the Rosneft President, has become the principal stockholder in Upravlenie Management Company. In addition, according to Vedomosti.ru, Sechina has also gained control over another major developer – Kosmosaviaspetsstroy.
The partner of Marina Sechina has ties with the President of Fund 2
Kosmosaviaspetsstroy is a “general contractor; its subsidiary companies include Soyuzspetsstroy Limited Liability Company, Elitstroy, Limited Liability Company, and Mosvodokanalstroy Close Joint Stock Company performing construction and design works not only in Moscow and the region, but in other regions of Russia as well”. According to Focus.kontur.ru, in the last 9 years, Kosmosaviaspetsstroy has won 70 governmental contracts for the total amount over 12 billion rubles ($211.3 million).
It is quite possible that speaking of “the business” that is going to finance Fund 2, Vera Moskvina had meant the structures belonging to Sechina.
The true purpose of Fund 2 still remains unclear. Its declared goals are vague, while the intended functions duplicate those of Fund 1.