Circle of ‘untouchables’ shrinks. God Nisanov to withstand or fail? 

Circle of ‘untouchables’ shrinks. God Nisanov to withstand or fail?
“Russia values me; the Moscow authorities help me.” Photo: The CrimeRussia

In early March 2019, law enforcement structures have raided several big Moscow markets – Sadovod (Gardener), Moskva, and Food City. Their primary shareholder – billionaire God Nisanov – demonstrates calmness. However, the fates of once-influential businessmen Aleksander Sabadash and Dmitry Mikhalchenko, who have lost not only their wealth – but assets as well – must alarm him. The CrimeRussia became aware that the businessman has taken certain steps already.

On March 11, 2019, customers of Sadovod (Gardener) market and Moskva trade complex have discovered, instead of the usual hustle and bustle, locked gates and SWAT troopers. It became known that the police and Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation have been searching the premises since 3 a.m. The operatives had searched the people, trade halls, and hotel accommodating the market personnel. The announcement about the operative and prophylactic measures was loudly broadcasted by the public address system. A few vendors taken by surprise had scattered in every direction. But the majority of the staff had been warned about the forthcoming operation in advance. 

On the next day, Food City, the largest wholesale and retail market located on Kaluzhskoe highway, has undergone the same procedure. 

Raid 

Some media outlets supposed that the operations could be linked with a mass brawl on Belorechenskaya street located 1 km from Moskva trade complex that had occurred a few days earlier. Knives and traumatic weapons were used in that skirmish; four people had to seek medical aid; and one of them was hospitalized. A criminal case has been instituted under paragraphs “a” and “b” of part 3 of Article 111 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (intentional infliction of grave injuries to two or more persons by an organized group or a group of persons).

Рейд

Raid at Moskva trade complex

Later, some media reported, citing their sources in law enforcement structures, that, in the course of the large-scale searches at Sadovod and Moskva, several mining farms and large amounts of cash have been discovered. 

It is necessary to note that, a year ago, Yuri Polupanov, Director of the Department for Financial Monitoring and Foreign Exchange Control of the Bank of Russia, told in an interview to Vedomosti newspaper that Sadovod and Moskva became pioneers and leaders in cryptocurrency exchange. The main buyers of cryptocurrencies are Chinese natives who reduce their expenses and evade taxes this way. The scheme is simple: the larger portion of the trade proceeds is used to purchase cryptocurrency which is immediately transferred to the buyer’s home country and cashed out there. According to Polupanov, “the monthly turnover there is some 600 billion rubles ($9.3 billion)”. Virtually no cash is officially deposited into banks. 

However, the Moscow police have refuted this information soon. RIA Novosti cites a representative of the General Administration for the City of Moscow of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation: “We would like to state that the reports about seizures of cash and mining equipment are not consistent with the reality”. Still, the Press Service of the MIA General Administration for the City of Moscow confirmed the very fact of inspections: “In the framework of the everyday control over the compliance with the migration legislation, the Moscow police have carried out inspections of places of mass gathering of foreign citizens. Required measures have been taken in relation to all identified violations”. 

According to The CrimeRussia sources, the primary target of the recent raids were not foreign vendors – but billionaire God Nisanov, owner of all the three markets. The purpose of the operations carried out by the law enforcement authorities was to intimidate and put pressure on the businessman. 

The point is that, prior to the raids, Nisanov was strongly recommended to finance new major projects in Moscow – but the businessman refused to do so: he does not intend to invest anything into the Russian capital anymore and currently transfers his assets abroad. The CrimeRussia sources believe that such an imprudence may ultimately result in the institution of criminal cases against Nisanov for illegal banking activities and illegal migration.

Back in October 2018, anonymous Telegram channels reported that Nisanov and his partners have already relocated their families from Russia. “First, the amount of ‘black cash’ in structures controlled by Nisanov exceeds all limits; second, nephews of Nisanov decided to become innovators and actively introduced cryptocurrencies into the uncle’s ‘laundromat’ – which displeased the Bank of Russia and FSB,” – Mysli-neMysli (@mislinemisli) Telegram channel claims. “The key cash-out locations in Moscow are not banks – but Sadovod and Food City wholesale and retail complexes. Their fees amount to 17–20%; this is pretty reasonable in our harsh times,” – Truba Pod Neglinnoy (@trubapodneglinnoy) Telegram channel adds. It was also reported that the nephews of Nisanov have already prepared escape routes for themselves by acquiring European passports – supposedly, Maltese ones. 

Lucky God 

A native of Krasnaya Sloboda (currently, Gyrmyzy Gasaba) village in Azerbaijan traditionally inhabited by Mountain Jews, 20-year-old God Nisanov has relocated to Moscow in the 1990s and launched, jointly with his fellow countryman and childhood friend Zarakh Iliev, a wholesale and retail trade business. 

Ten years later, the partners have established Kievskaya Ploshchad (Kiev Square) company; Nisanov was its Director and co-owner. Their fist major project was Evropeisky (European) Trade Center built right across Kievsky Rail Terminal. Over time, the company evolved into a big construction holding involved also in hotel, tourism, and restaurant businesses. Its main assets include Radisson Slavyanskaya and Ukraine hotels, a tower in the Moscow City Business Center, Grand furniture center, Moskva car hypermarket, and a number of markets. Apparently, these markets are the most valuable assets – and the operatives came there for a reason: this is the most nontransparent business where billions of unregistered rubles circulate. Nisanov holds a rightful place among other Moscow businessmen: his fortune is estimated at $3.3 billion and he has many state awards, including those handed out by the President.

Зарах Илиев

Zarakh Iliev

Some entrepreneurs explain his successes by the closeness to businessman Il’gam Ragimov, a fellow alumnus of Vladimir Putin at the Leningrad State University. Ragimov is a native of Azerbaijan and was familiar with God’s father. According to Forbes, similarly with the future President, Ragimov had practiced judo. According to their trainer Anatoly Rakhlin, Ragimov was a frequent guest in the home of Putin and was familiar with his mother – while Putin had often stayed overnight in the university’s dormitory where Ragimov had lived. Ragimov confirmed his friendship with the Russian President in an interview to Sputnik–Azerbaijan news agency. Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov also said that Putin and Ragimov are familiar since the student years but do not communicate on a regular basis. 

Officially, Ragimov is a scientist and tutor. Another fellow alumnus of Ragimov and Putin – Alexander Bastyrkin, Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) – wrote a review of his yet another book “Crime and Punishment”. In his native Azerbaijan, Ragimov is a partner in a small law bureau and member of the board of directors in a bank. He is a cofounder of all companies belonging to Nisanov and Iliev with a share of 10–15%. Interestingly, neither Nisanov nor Iliev are official co-owners of their companies – all assets belong to their numerous relatives and close friends. According to Forbes, in 2014, Ragimov was one of the biggest Russian entrepreneurs; his wealth, consisting mostly of minor portfolios in real properties of Kievskaya Ploshchad, was estimated at $500 million.

Ильгам Рагимов и Год Нисанов

Il’gam Ragimov and God Nisanov (Photo: Mikhai Mettsel/TASS)

Having such a ‘cover’, Nisanov easily came to understanding with the new Moscow Mayor and his team. Sergei Sobyanin had noted in the past that a regular trade center should be built instead of Sadovod, while residents of Lyublino are fed up with Moskva; he had also lobbied their shutdown – but the markets still operate.

Apparently, it was unofficially agreed that Nisanov continues running his market business in exchange for participation in social projects of the city. The new Mayor had to demonstrate his ability to attract investors to complex projects, including the reconstruction of the All-Union Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy (VDNKh) later renamed into the All-Russia Exhibition Center. For many years, the exhibition was occupied by small vendors, while the pavilions accommodated shish kebab establishments. 

In 2011, it was announced that God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev became the primary investors of the VDNKh reconstruction. The partners promised to invest $1.5 billion in the restoration of some its monuments with the possibility to build a year-round entertainment center some 300 thousand square meters in size including an oceanarium, concert hall, and hotels. The total amount of investments was estimated at $2 billion at that time. The deterioration of engineering networks at VDNKh was over 90%, while its objects, including monuments, had deteriorated by 80–90%. 

Later Il’gam Ragimov confirmed in an interview to Novosti.az portal that his companies are reconstructing the All-Russia Exhibition Center, while the total volume of investments may reach $3 billion. Experts noted at that time that the return on these investments may take almost 40 years. 

In exchange, Nisanov has erected a new market – Food City – in ‘new Moscow’. It accommodated vendors from Pokrovskaya vegetable warehouse closed after the riots in Biryulevo. Sobyanin attended the grand opening of Food City in 2014 and recognized it optimal for the metropolis food supply.

Год Нисанов и Сергей Собянин

God Nisanov and Sergei Sobyanin at the grand opening of Food City

A year later, Nisanov has personally presented to Putin Moskvarium – the largest oceanarium in Europe on VDNKh. On the same year, Yuzhnye Vorota (South Gate) international bus terminal built at the expense of Nisanov and located on the 19th kilometer of the Moscow Ring Road has been launched. 

Currently, his companies are reconstructing Shchelkovsky bus terminal. The renovated terminal will fully meet the modern technical equipment, safety, and comfort requirements. According to MosGorStroy company, the building facade will resemble a flying ‘glass ship’; its 11 floors (six overground and five underground ones) will accommodate the ticket hall, baby care room, comfortable waiting lounges, etc. The works commenced in 2017 are supposed to be completed by the end of 2019. After the reconstruction, the bus terminal should become the largest high-end transportation node with a daily capacity of 15 thousand passengers. The investments into the Shchelkovsky bus terminal reconstruction exceed $200 million.

Проект Щелковского вокзала

Shchelkovsky bus terminal design

A large-scale reconstruction of Olympiisky sports complex – also belonging to structures controlled by Nisanov and Iliev – has started in early 2019. Three years later, the complex should become a major family recreation center – while fully retaining its concert and sports capacities. The investments are estimated at $300–400 million. 

It is necessary to note that Nisanov has acquired Olympiisky sports complex under weird circumstances. 

In late May 2014, Neftegazprod Closed Joint Company controlled by billionaire Dmitry Shumkov purchased 64% of sports complex’s shares for $4.67 billion rubles ($72.1 million). Later, Shumkov increased his portfolio in Olympiisky to 91.5% of shares. On the same year, Turbo Limited Liability Company controlled by him has purchased from the Moscow Government Persits Rental House on Varvarka street. It was planned to convert the building 21 thousand square meters in size into a five-star hotel with 320 suites; the required investments were estimated at some 17 billion rubles ($262.5 million). 

To implement this project, MFK Limited Liability Company and Zaryadie Multifunctional Complex Limited Liability Company were created; shares of these companies were distributed between the son, wife, and other relatives of Shumkov. 

However, a series of strange incidents occurred soon in relation to this project. In April 2015, Andrei Arkhangelsky, a friend of Shumkov and Head of Mosinzhproekt Joint Stock Company, was detained. According to the investigation, he received a bribe in the amount of 5 million rubles ($77.2 thousand) from a subcontractor involved in the construction of Kotel’niki subway station. Arkhangelsky had supervised many key projects, and his arrest affected the relations between the city authorities and some investors, including Shumkov. In December 2015, Shumkov was found hanged in his apartment in Federation Tower of Moscow City Business Center.

Дмитрий Шумков

Dmitry Shumkov

As a result, MFK was acquired by structures controlled by Nisanov and Iliev. The partners are currently building a luxury hotel near Zaryadie Park in the center of Moscow. Olympiisky sports complex had initially belonged to Musa Bazhaev, a former partner of Shumkov and shareholder of Alliance Group, and was sold to Nisanov and Iliev in 2017. Experts interviewed by Vedomosti newspaper believe that Olympiisky was not a purely investment asset. Kievskaya Ploshchad has either purchased it at a very lucrative price or received the sports complex as a payment in some other deal. 

Together with the new assets (the hotel and sports complex), Nisanov and Iliev have got a new influential partner – Artem Dyumin, brother of Tula Governor Aleksei Dyumin. He is cofounder of MFK and was the General Director of Olympiisky up until the last month. 

Aleksei Dyumin, a former personal adjutant of Putin, have made a skyrocketing career – in 2012, he became a Deputy Head of the Presidential Protection Service of the Federal Protection Service of the Russian Federation; in 2014 – was appointed a Deputy Commander of the General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate and Commander of Special Operation Forces that have played the key role in the reintegration of Crimea. In 2015, Dyumin became Chief of the General Staff of the Land Forces and Deputy Minister of Defense. In 2016, he took charge of the Tula region.

Артем Дюмин

Artem Dyumin

In March 2018, Il’gam Ragimov ceased to be a shareholder of companies belonging to Nisanov and Iliev. According to the Consolidated State Registry of Legal Entities, he does not own shares in the following companies anymore: Vysotka (High-Rise) Limited Liability Company using the Radisson Royal brand and controlling Ukraine Hotel; Flora and Fauna Limited Liability Company controlling Sadovod market, Car Trade Center on Kashhirka Limited Liability Company, Grandtitul Limited Liability Company controlling Grand and Grand 2 furniture trade centers, Kievskaya Ploshchad Limited Liability Company and Kievskaya Ploshchad 1 Limited Liability Company (both of them are registered at the address of Evropeisky Trade Center belonging to the group), and Avers 3 Trade and Industrial Company Limited Liability Company. 

Therefore, either Nisanov has changed his ‘cover’ or Ragimov knows something unknown to Nisanov. The reports about the relocation of the family abroad and withdrawal of Ragimov from the shareholders coincided in time. According to Rucriminal.info, Nisanov recently started annoying both the law enforcement structures and national leadership. The result is predictable: his business empire may be disintegrated soon. 

However, a lot will depend on his collaboration with the Moscow authorities, including the current projects. The main thing is to avoid mistakes Nisanov had seen in the past. 

‘Turbulent...’ 

The official biography of Nisanov is lacking the 1990s for a reason – apparently, he does not want to be associated with his former partner Telman Ismailov, once-omnipotent owner of notorious Cherkizon. In that period, Nisanov has earned his first million. Later, he managed to become an independent businessman – he market accommodated vendors from closed Cherkizovsky market. Therefore, he knows that story first-hand.    

Тельман Исмаилов

Telman Ismailov

It began in 2009, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and amid the forthcoming Sochi Olympics. Several Russian oligarchs were asked to invest money into it. However, Telman Ismailov had different plans in that period – he was building luxurious ‘seven-star’ Mardan Palace Hotel named after Telman’s father. The hotel was supposed to astonish with luxury and featured a stair produced as per the design of Leonardo da Vinci and chandelier 8 meters in diameter made of Swarovski crystals in the foyer and a private beach covered by 500 tons of white sand delivered from Egypt. After investing some $1.5 billion in that project, Ismailov had no available funds. 

The grand opening of Mardan Palace on May 23, 2009 was attended by Sharon Stone, Richard Gere, Monica Bellucci, Tom Cruise, and Mariah Carey. As soon as in June 2009, Vladimir Putin, then-Prime Minister of Russia, requested heads of law enforcement agencies to intensify the struggle against smuggling at a session of the Presidium of the Government: 

“...goods worth over $2 billion are stored at one of the markets; these are still not destroyed; their owners are unknown (...). Smuggling is a special topic: the struggle is ongoing, but there are very few results. The results must be incarcerations. Where are the incarcerations?”

Mardan Palace

Mardan Palace

On June 29, the Moscow authorities suspended the operation of Cherkizovsky market; on the next day, Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper published the opinion of ICR Chairman Alexander Bastyrkin on that matter: 

“In the near future, we are going to eliminate this mess in the center of Moscow forever. This filthy place must be shut down; we are going to do this as soon as possible”. 

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov – the best friend of Ismailov – was unable to help. At that time, Luzhkov had no idea that he would have to vacate his post and leave Russia pretty soon. 

This was not the end of Ismailov’s misfortune – in December 2015, the Arbitration Court of the Moscow Region recognized him bankrupt. The hotel – not as popular as expected – had to be sold for next to nothing. 

In 2016, Ismailov’s brother Rafik was arrested in Moscow and charged with organization of a double murder in the metropolitan area for $2 million. The investigation named Telman Ismailov the mastermind behind this crime. Another relative of the businessman – Vagif Ismailov, former operative of the MIA General Administration of Criminal Investigation, – is also suspected of complicity in these murders. According to the investigation, Vagif had assisted his brother in covering-up the traces, hiding the murder weapon, and escaping. 

In 2017, Telman Ismailov has been charged in absentia under paragraphs “a”, “g”, and “e” of part 2 of Article 105 and part 3 of Article 222 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of two murders) and put on the international wanted list. In addition, Telman Ismailov is believed to be involved in the abduction of singer Avraam Russo in 2004. The investigation believes that Ismailov has masterminded the kidnapping of the singer over a financial dispute. 

Not the first, not the last

As the forage base shrinks, more and more examples appear showing that no one is ‘untouchable’ in our country. One of the most recent such examples is the story of once-powerful St. Petersburg businessman Dmitry Mikhalchenko nicknamed ‘round-the-clock governor’ of St. Petersburg. 

In 2001, he has founded and took charge of Forum multidisciplinary holding; by 2016, it became one of the largest in the city. The holding amalgamated several dozen companies and enterprises, including Bronka deep-water port, Baltstroy specializing in construction and restoration, Magistral association of protection companies, Izmeron plant producing oil and gas equipment, Kirov spinning and thread factory producing more than half of all sewing threads in Russia, several restaurants and bars (Buddha Bar, Tse Fung, and Il Lago dei Cigni), etc.

Дмитрий Михальченко

Dmitry Mikhalchenko

His ‘high patrons’ were retired FSB general Nikolai Negodov, a cofounder of Forum, and Evgeny Murov, then-Head of the Federal Protection Service. His son Andrei had actively collaborated with Mikhalchenko. For instance, Baltstroy company belonging to ‘round-the-clock governor’ had received profitable construction contracts from the Federal Protection Service on a regular basis. 

A few days ago, the Kuibyshevsky District Court of St. Petersburg has sentenced Viktor Karpeka, a co-owner of Baltstroy Limited Liability Company, and its former Director Mikhail Butman to 3 years behind bars conditionally. Both of them have been prosecuted for embezzlements committed in the course of capital renovations of the Higher School of Economics. The court established that, in the period since October 2013 and until December 2015, they have embezzled some 30 million rubles ($463.2 thousand). 

To refresh background: in March 2016, the FSB has instituted a criminal case for embezzlement of funds allocated for the restoration of cultural heritage – so-called ‘restorers case’. The following persons have been detained in the framework of this case: Grigory Pirumov, Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation; Boris Mazo, Director of the Department for Property Management and Investment Policies of the Ministry of Culture; Oleg Ivanov, Director of the Tsentr Restavratsii (Center for Restoration) Federal State Unitary Enterprise; Baltstroy Director Dmitry Sergeev; Baltstroy Manager Aleksander Kochenov; and Nikita Kolesnikov, Advisor to the General Director of Linnit Consult. 

Two weeks later, Dmitry Mikhalchenko was arrested in Moscow and charged with smuggling. According to a source of RBK Group, the operatives were searching the Baltstroy office in the framework of the ‘restorers case’ – and found evidence incriminating Mikhalchenko in smuggling. According to the investigation, in 2015–2016, Mikhalchenko and his partners had shipped expensive alcohol to Russia under the disguise of a construction sealing paste.

Евгений Муров

Evgeny Murov

In August 2017, the Kuibyshevsky District Court of St. Petersburg has sentenced Dmitry Sergeev, Head of Baltstroy, to 4.5 years conditionally. He was found guilty of embezzlements – but the punishment has been mitigated because Sergeev had admitted his guilt, compensated damages in the amount of 13 million rubles ($200.7 thousand) sustained by the state, and made a plea deal. However, immediately after the pronouncement of the verdict – when Sergeev was supposed to be       released from the court room – FSB operatives suddenly interfered and detained him in the framework of the case pertaining to the embezzlement of budget funds during the reconstruction of Novo-Ogarevo Presidential Residence. Sergeev has bee arrested for creation or an organized criminal group and three swindling episodes. 

However, Sergeev was just a ‘lead’ to Mikhalchenko. ‘Round-the-clock governor’ has also been charged under Article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (creation of a criminal community (criminal organization) and participation therein) in summer 2018. In laet 2018, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow has sentenced him to 4 years and 7 months in a general regime penal colony for alcohol smuggling. By that time, Mikhalchenko has almost served this term because one day spent in a pretrial detention facility equals 1.5 days in a penal colony. But the court has remanded the businessman in custody in the framework of the second case (without releasing him) – initially, until March and then until June. 

According to the investigation, in the course of the construction and repairs of facilities of Novo-Ogarevo Presidential Residence, an organized criminal group under the leadership of Mikhalchenko has fraudulently embezzled some 1.3 billion rubles ($20.1 million). In the new case, Mikhalchenko faces up to 20 years behind bars. 

At the time of his arrest, the fortune of Mikhalchenko was estimated at 18 billion rubles ($277.9 million) – but during his detention, it started quickly declining thanks to his former partners. 

The businessman lost Port Bronka considered his strategic asset. In late 2017, the share of Mikhalchenko was transferred to other legal entities. At that time, the port got new owners – Lyudmila Murova, wife of Evgeny Murov, ex-Head of the Federal Protection Service, and Nikolai Negodov. Forum Holding, the years-long symbol of Mikhalchenko’s power, is nearly disintegrated. According to SPARK-Interfax, the transfer of holding’s asset to Bronka Group company is still ongoing. Now Bronka Group is a behemoth amalgamating the Unified Document Center, a restaurant chain, and clothes boutiques. Nikita Murov, a grandson of the former Head of the Federal Protection Service, has been appointed the General Director of Bronka Group. 

Some St. Petersburg businessmen aware of the situation believe that Mikhalchenko could voluntarily surrender his assets in exchange for freedom. However, apparently, he made a mistake and lost both the wealth and liberty.

Novo-Ogarevo Presidential Residence is also mentioned in the criminal case against another St. Petersburg oligarch – who has also lost his business. The assets of ‘vodka king’ Aleksander Sabadash are currently offered for sale. Similarly with Mikhalchenko, his downfall was caused by the supreme political will. 

Sabadash began his career in the 1990s as a big supplier of Absolut Vodka. In 1997, he launched Liviz Refinery; its production quickly gained leading positions at the domestic alcohol market. The private fortune of the businessman was estimated at 10 billion rubles ($154.4 million). In the early 2000s, the billionaire joint the politic. In 2003–2006, he was the Senator from the Nenets Autonomous Region.

Александр Сабадаш

Aleksander Sabadash

According to InoSMI.ru portal, for many years, Sabadash had tried to acquire through court action the territory of Gorki 2 state farm located near Novo-Ogarevo Presidential Residence on Rublevskoe highway. This area is zoned for construction and worth several hundreds of millions of dollars. 

In May 2015, Sabadash was arrested for attempted swindling in the amount of 7 billion rubles ($108.1 million). A year later, the Gagarinsky District Court of Moscow sentenced him to 6 years behind bars. In 2017, the Smolninsky District Court of St. Petersburg sentenced him to 7 years in a penal colony for embezzlement of 190 million rubles ($2.9 million) from Tavrichecky Bank.

As a result, the business empire of the former Senator is in ruins. The official sales of oligarch’s assets have been announced recently. 

The tactics used by law enforcement structures in the recent years involved a broad interpretation of the term “creation of a criminal community” and institution of new cases preventing the defendant from being released. 

Take, for instance, the years-long prosecution of the predecessor of Mikhalchenko – ‘night governor’ Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin. Recently, he has been convicted to 24 years behind bars for creation of Tambovskie organized criminal group. In 2016, he was found guilty of attempted assassination of Sergei Vasiliev, co-owner of St. Petersburg Oil Terminal Closed Joint Stock Company, and sentenced to 23 years behind bars. In 2009, Barsukov-Kumarin was sentenced 14 years behind bars for raidership. Three years later, he was found guilty of extortion from owners of Elizarovsky Trade Complex and convicted to 15 years behind bars taking into account the remaining prison time in the first case.

Any person accused of economic crimes may be easily charged under Article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Any company may be considered an “acting organized group”, its director – “the creator of an organized criminal community”, and signed contracts – “establishment of stable relations and development of plans for committing crimes”. 

The fate of Ziyavudin and Magomed Magomedov, owners of Summa Group, does not inspire optimism as well. In the end of March, there will be the first ‘anniversary’ of their detention on suspicion of embezzlement of 2.5 billion rubles ($38.6 million) and creation of a criminal community. Suleyman Kerimov; Nikolai Tokarev, Head of Transneft; and even Igor Sechin were named among the persons interested in the incarceration of brothers Magomedov. By the way, they have sold 50% of shares in the Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port to Transneft – but this hasn’t affected the course of the investigation in any way.

The high-profile arrest of famous American investor Michael Calvey, Head of Baring Vostok, and five more persons on February 15, 2019 on suspicion of embezzlement of 2.5 billion rubles ($38.6 million) from Vostochny Bank has also hit the headlines. The investigation believes that the First Collections Bureau controlled by Calvey has paid out the debt to the bank in shares worth, according to the FSB, only 600 thousand rubles ($9.3 thousand).    

Майкл Калви

Michael Calvey

Calvey, in turn, believes that Artem Avetisyan, another shareholder of Vostochny Bank, is trying to solve a corporate dispute in such a way. The London Court of International Arbitration is currently examining a lawsuit filed by Calvey against Avetisyan in relation to the withdrawal of funds from Uniastrum Bank that has later merged with Vostochny Bank.  

The number of such example is growing year by year. Still, God Nisanov demonstrates calmness. In an interview to Oxu.az Azerbaijani portal, he said that that Russia values him, while the Moscow authorities help him. Similarly with some media outlets, Nisanov explains the raids of his markets by the inquest into the recent brawl on Belorechenskaya street. According to him, the operations of the law enforcement authorities hadn’t disturbed the market operations. 

The businessman has also refuted rumors about the relocation of his family abroad. 

“My family is in Moscow, we are not going anywhere,” – Nisanov said and added that he is able to solve any problems that may arise.

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