Timchenko and Putin's childhood friend sign elite real estate over to Kabaeva’s grandmother
Recently, the TV channel Dozhd published an investigation into the activities of a businessman Pyotr Kolbin. Being the former co-owner of the Gunvor oil trader, Kolbin made a fortune largely due to personal acquaintance with Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the end of 2015, he made a generous gift to the woman of the same name as Alina Kabaeva’s grandmother.
Thus, reporters learned about the ongoing registration of elite real estate on the possible relatives of the former gymnast and current Chairman of the Board of Directors of National Media Group, Alina Kabaeva. For many years, the rumors have circulated in the press about the relationship between Kabaeva and the head of state.
The TV channel obtained documents, which prove the settlement of transactions by Gennady Timchenko and Pyotr Kolbin. According to the provided information, the businessmen sold three apartments in the elite districts of Moscow and St. Petersburg to a person of the same name as Alina Kabaeva’s grandmother, Anna Zatsepilina. Reporters reminded that earlier Channel One had confirmed that this was in fact the name of the Olympic champion’s grandmother.
These apartments in question are located in a house on the Arbat in Moscow (total area is 601 sq. m.) and in a house with a view of the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral in the St Petersburg center (total area is 211 sq. m.). According to the extract from the Unified State Register of Real Estate Rights and Transactions (EGRP), in December 2015, this property was registered by certain individuals named Timchenko and Kolbin on Zatsepilina.
There is a seven-story club house overlooking the Old Arbat at the address Arbat, 18, where Kolbin’s apartments were located. In 2009, Novaya Gazeta wrote that the building consisted of only 10 apartments. The three-story house on the Mytninskaya Naberezhnaya, 3 in St. Petersburg is located opposite the Zayachy Island, where the Peter and Paul Fortress stands. The building was constructed in 1899, with a two-story penthouse added in 2002. Before reconstruction, an architectural historian Andrey Punin listed the house among "the best examples of late eclecticism on the Petrograd Side," the journalists recalled.
This March, Reuters journalists published their investigation, which stated that a businessman Grigory Baevsky, Arkady Rotenberg’s partner, had transferred luxurious property to three women, including Katerina Tikhonova, the alleged daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a relative of the ex-member of the State Duma Alina Kabaeva.
In particular, according to the news agency, in 2013, Baevsky transferred ownership of the house and a plot of land in the village of Uspenskoe, Moscow Region, to Anna Zatsepilina, who turns to be the grandmother of the former athlete. The woman who, as the journalists claimed, became the owner of the real estate this spring, then declined to comment on the matter.
Even earlier, in 2009, Baevsky gifted an apartment in Moscow on the Veresaeva Street to Leysan Kabaeva, the sister of the Olympic champion. Reporters contacted the Leysan Kabaeva’s company, but its representatives refused to talk about the origins of the apartment, which had recently been registered on their boss.
However, in March, the agency was able to talk with Alina Kabaeva’s press secretary and ask her questions about the nature of relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and about transactions between Baevsky and her relatives. "They are all adults, they take responsibility for their actions and live their own lives. Alina Maratovna Kabaeva has nothing to do with these issues," the spokesman of the State Duma member said.
Dozhd told about Putin’s secret friend, who made his fortune on the contracts with Timchenko
The former co-owner of the Gunvor oil trader, businessman Pyotr Kolbin, turned out to be an old friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The journalists learned that the head of state met Kolbin as a child and they have been friends ever since. In the 2000s, after Putin had been elected president of the country, Kolbin went into a big business and became a dollar millionaire. This was stated in the investigation by Dozhd, part of which was published on the channel's website.
Reporters noted that general public knows little about. As the TV channel established, Pyotr Kolbin and Vladimir Putin's fathers had been close friends. They met in 1954 in the village of Imenitsy, Leningrad Region, where Kolbin Sr. was the local headmaster, and the Putins rented a cottage for the summer. Having grown up, the future president of the country and the future co-owner of Gunvor often met each other, went to the village disco parties, and even fought against local bullies, journalists report.
In 2000, Kolbin Sr. received a personal letter from the newly elected president Putin, a copy of which is available to the media outlet. It was at that time that Pyotr Kolbin entered the big business and made a considerable fortune in just a few years, the TV channel notes. For five years, until 2010, he owned at least 10 percent of shares in the Gunvor oil trader.
Kolbin also owned the Surguteks oil trader, which sold abroad significant volumes of oil and oil products of the Surgutneftegaz. In addition, the businessman controlled some of Gazprom’s major suppliers, journalists report. Moreover, in 2010, Kolbin signed a lucrative deal, buying shares of the Yamal LNG company for 90 million USD, and a year and a half later selling them already for 526 million USD. The deal was approved by a state commission headed by Putin, who was then the prime minister.
It is worth noting that Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov told the TV channel that he had not encountered Kolbin’s name among the friends of the head of state. Former shareholder of Gunvor Gennady Timchenko, in turn, refused to answer questions about Pyotr Kolbin. The businessman himself was unavailable for comment.
Kolbin has known not only Putin from childhood, but Timchenko as well
As of 2016, a private investor Pyotr Kolbin holds the 149th place in the list of the richest Russian businessmen, according to Forbes. His fortune is estimated at 0.55 billion USD. According to the media outlet, Kolbin gained profit from selling a blocking stake at Yamal LNG to Novatek in 2011, for which he received 526 million USD, and a minority stake of the Gunvor oil trader.
In 2012, the Vedomosti newspaper wrote that it was Kolbin who turned out to be "the mysterious third owner" of Gunvor, who the journalists also called "a childhood friend of Gennady Timchenko." "It has been a long time. All of this is in the past. Why raise ghosts of the past? Let bygones be bygones," Kolbin himself admitted at the time.
An unnamed interlocutor of the media outlet then told that "Kolbin had acted as a financial investor, having bought shares of the trader, and afterwards left with a profit for himself." It was reported that this St. Petersburg citizen was the co-owner of other Timchenko’s companies — he owned 49% of the Surguteks oil trader and 25.1% of the Yamal LNG, the owner of the license for the giant Yuzhno-Tambeyskoye gas field, which is being developed by Novatek.
Even then Kolbin confirmed that he had been familiar with Timchenko since childhood. Kolbin was born in the Orenburg Region, in the family of military personnel. Six years later, his father was transferred to serve in the German Democratic Republic, where Kolbin met and became friends with a boy of the same age, also the son of the service personnel, Timchenko.
In a conversation with journalists, a person close to Gunvor called Kolbin antisocial and noted that he liked large cars, knives, daggers, and other weapons, but he did not go hunting. Kolbin is a professional shooter, which was stated in the materials of the competition in practical pistol shooting of the St. Petersburg Baltic shooting club, the newspaper noted.
Last summer, Kolbin’s name appeared in media reports, when the United States imposed additional sanctions against Russia, associated with the Russian policy towards Ukraine. On July 30, 2015, the sanctions were extended on eight companies and individuals, in one way or another connected with the Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko. Among them was Pyotr Kolbin.
Earlier this year, the public learned about another close friend of Vladimir Putin, a cellist Sergey Roldugin. His name started to appear in the press in the spring, when the media reported that the disclosed Panama Papers contain information on several companies registered on the cellist. The musician was reported to have shared participation in the offshore companies International Media Overseas S.A., Sonnette Overseas Inc., and Raytar Limited. The ICIJ investigation based on leaked documents from the archives of the Mossack Fonseca company, with data on offshore accounts of politicians and other famous people, revealed that at least 2 billion USD had been transferred to the accounts of these companies.
Commenting on the offshore scandal, Putin admitted that the cellist was his friend. He informed the public that the musician was engaged in business, but its scale was not estimated at millions, let alone billions. The head of state also revealed that Roldugin spends a significant part of the funds on musical instruments that are bought abroad and brought to Russia.