Russian Railways and Gazprom largest contractors use the same “laundries”
Yesterday, searches were carried out in the offices of bankers Ivan Stankevich and Sergey Mendeleev.
Federal Security Service and Investigative Committee carried out searches until late at night in the offices of top managers working for Ivan Stankevich and Sergey Mendeleev as part of the investigation into the embezzlement of Russian Railways’ funds by 1520 Group. The bankers left Russia as soon as they felt unsafe. Stankevich fled to the United States last fall after the arrest of one of 1520 Group owners, Valery Markelov; while Mendeleev did so just a couple of weeks ago.
The duo is believed to be responsible for the financial "cover" of the theft, the subsequent money laundering and its funneling from Russia. Meanwhile, according to Rucriminal.info, the Russian Railways contractor was not the only one using the laundry scheme – there was the Bashkir company Peton, closely associated with Bashneft’s vice president Ali Uzdenov and the receiver of hundreds of billions of rubles of state funds from Gazprom. Both 1520 and Peton got help from security officers Dmitry Zakharchenko on the part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Dmitry Frolov, Kirill Cherkalin and Dmitry Senin on the part of the FSB.
Peton topped the Forbes’ Government Contractor Kings rating having obtained 176-billion-rubles’ worth of government contracts in 2016 alone. 1520 got to the top of the ranking in 2018, when the worth of its contracts exceeded 218 billion rubles.
At first, Stankevich was the one in charge of those channels, and after he left, Mendeleev took over. After the searches, the top managers working for Stankevich and Mendeleev were brought in for interrogations. Their statuses in the case file will be determined later. Earlier it was reported that the case was initiated under Art. 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of a criminal community). But while the 1520 case file already has the persons accused and those wanted, the Peton case lacks either.
Eduard Gasanov, Oleg Polyakov, Emin Akhundov and Igor Mnushkin are the official owners of Peton but more powerful figures have always been standing behind them, such as AFK Sistema vice president Ali Uzdenov, who has been referred to the “gas king” of the Rostov region for years. By the way, Dmitry Zakharchenko, a man of the same region, gained a great influence over the then vice president of Gazprom, Kirill Seleznev, one he took up a post at the GUEBiPK and got close to FSB officer Dmitry Senin. That helped Uzdenov take control over all of Gazprom’s sales subsidiaries in the region.
Uzdenov began to provide the then small Bashkir Peton Research Institute with large contracts even when Bashneft was part of Sistema. Later, an idea came to turn Peton into one of the largest recipients of Gazprom’s contract money. Such a rapid promotion of a previously unknown company can be explained by the fact that Uzdenov might have been an unofficial co-owner of the Peton Research Institute, according to Rucriminal.info sources. Novy Potok head, Dmitry Mazurov, and a number of unnamed persons had their shares, too. After the documents seized during the August 14 searches have been studied, the investigators might have a lot of questions for Uzdenov and other Peton beneficiaries.