Military prosecutor from Baikonur covers up raidership
One of the main masterminds behind major embezzlements during the construction of Zenit Arena Stadium – ex-Vice Governor of St. Petersburg Marat Oganesyan – is currently under investigation. The CrimeRussia found out that the official could be involved into another scam pertaining to the construction of a residential complex in the Kurortny district of St. Petersburg. Similarly with any other fraud scheme, this scam involves high-ranked patrons, corrupt law enforcement officials, and friends of ‘godfather’ of St. Petersburg Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin. See details in our exclusive material.
Developer in uniform
In the mid-2000s, a land lot in the center of the Kurortny District of St. Petersburg – in Sestroretsk – has been allocated to 6th Trest (6th Trust) Limited Liability Company for the construction of a high-rise residential complex with integrated commercial premises and underground parking. It is necessary to note that Sestroretsk is not only a city landmark – it is a neighborhood with functionaries’ mansions, judges’ country homes, restaurants, resorts, beaches, and yacht clubs. A local ‘Golden Mile’. Housing prices there almost match those in the historical center of St. Petersburg.
Sestroretsk is a part of the Kurortny District of St. Petersburg
The construction of the ill-fated house has turned into a drama at its final stage. In 2013, when the building was 95% ready, various watchdog authorities – the Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), building control organizations, tax inspections, etc. – started harassing 6th Trest with exhausting checks and audits. For some time, the developer had successfully withstood all the attacks because the home was built without violations. The situation became 100% clear when the management of 6th Trest were summoned to the Committee for Construction of St. Petersburg – chaired at that time by notorious Marat Oganesyan – and ordered to transfer the project to some Karat Limited Liability Company. In the event of a refusal, the construction company was facing a fine of 20 million rubles ($349 thousand) – allegedly, for delays with the building commissioning.
The CrimeRussia obtained documents illustrating how the developers were changed. The Government Decree of the City of St. Petersburg № 229 of April 10, 2013 has empowered Karat Limited Liability Company to handle all the property and legal matters pertaining to the investment project. The legitimacy of this decree is doubtful due to several reasons. First, the developer was changed without a tender. Second, the handpicked successor company was not a self-regulatory organization (SRO) – which is a mandatory requirement for all the construction holdings. Third, at that time Karat was lacking a construction permit.
The point is that Karat hasn’t taken the building onto its books – the apartments were transferred to some Orion Limited Liability Company. In total, there are ten such companies affiliated with Karat and founded by the same person – ex-Military Prosecutor Aleksander Nemkin. According to Konkretno.ru web portal, the formal head of Karat is some Dmitry Osipov, a driver or henchman of Nemkin, who also is the founder and General Director of Orion Limited Liability Company.
Aleksander Nemkin is not a public figure, but he is ‘well-known in narrow circles’. Very little information is available about him. Nemkin claims that he used to be an Assistant Military Prosecutor of Baikonur Cosmodrome and now works in private practice. However, according to sources, during the ‘reign’ of Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin, Aleksander Nemkin was often seen in Bagration Restaurant located at the intersection of Liteinaya and Chaikovskogo streets – in the building currently accommodating Reval Hotel Sonya. This once-upscale location used to be a meeting place for ‘respected people’. Offices of the law firm where Nemkin had allegedly provided legal services were located on the second floor, right above the restaurant.
Aleksander Nemkin and Marat Oganesyan are old acquaintances – they know each other since the criminal prosecution of Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin; at that time, Nemkin had defended his interests in courts.
It is hard to tell when Aleksander Nemkin started establishing ties with big functionaries and high-ranked law enforcement commanders. It is known, however, that he owns a large hunting enterprise frequently visited by various officials. According to one source, the hunting reserve is located in the Novgorod region, according to another source – in the Priozersk district of the Leningrad region. Some sources also note that Nemkin maintains very good relations both with Sergei Litvinenko, Prosecutor of St. Petersburg, and his new deputy Viktor Melnik, ex-Prosecutor of the Kurortny District.
Outdoor recreation of the former prosecutor
Aleksander Nemkin and lynxes shot by him
From left to right: late Senator Vadim Tyulpanov, ex-Vice Governor Aleksander Vakhmistrov, and Aleksander Nemkin
The problems started after the transfer of the building to Orion Limited Liability Company. First, the construction co-investors haven’t received their apartments. Then Russian Post and Х-5 Retail Group, a major retail chain of the Russian Northwest (Karusel, Pyaterochka, and Perekrestok supermarkets) have lost their premises in the building. Х-5 Retail Group had invested 30 million rubles ($523.6 thousand) into the construction project and expected the funds to be used as an advance payment for the lease of retail space for a Pyaterochka supermarket. Instead, the company lawyers had to wage legal battles in two arbitration instances: by the time the store was supposed to move in the prepaid premises, it became known that the commercial space now belongs to Nemkin. The same story occurred with the premises intended for Russian Post.
With regards to the apartments, while the construction co-investors were camping out on the doorsteps of various instances, some Kvant (Quantum) company affiliated with Karat Limited Liability Company has signed an agency contract to sell the suites. Individuals and corporate investors were presented with a challenge: either to pay significant additional amounts to the ex-prosecutor’s structures or be left with nothing. In addition, the building has suddenly incurred an artificially-created debt – should the co-investors win in courts, there is no money to pay them.
The outraged co-investors stepped up to the reception of Smolny Palace. Ultimately, a meeting involving the hoodwinked corporate investors and individual co-investors, Prosecutor’s Office, and MIA Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption has been held. Aleksander Nemkin and Marat Oganesyan were also present at that meeting. It was decided to prepare documents to formalize the co-investors’ rights. To remind: at that time Karat Limited Liability Company had no construction permit and the building has been commissioned without it. In addition, up until March 2016, hoodwinked corporate investors and individuals could not force the Prosecutor’s Office of the Kurortny District to institute a criminal case. The Prosecutor’s Office had declined all the applications from the citizens, including requests to perform searches in offices of Karat Limited Liability Company and seize the disputed assets.
In March 2016, captain F.D. Nikolaev, Senior Investigator of the MIA Administration for the Kurortny District, has finally initiated a criminal case for attempted swindling on an especially large scale. However, the case was instituted against an unidentified person “performing management functions” and acting on behalf of the management of Karat Limited Liability Company. Furthermore, the investigation concluded that the new developer hasn’t implemented its criminal intention – after all, the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr) hasn’t registered anything yet. The investigation was put on hold several times before spring 2017. In order to force the investigation to do something, the victims had to dispute its every step in court. The most motivated plaintiffs brought their claims to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.
The current value of the building is estimated at 1 billion rubles ($17.5 million). The losses of corporate investors and individual co-investors vary in the range of two to several hundred million rubles ($34.9 thousand–1.7 million and up). This does not include damages sustained by the developer – no one is going to compensate those. The victims have no doubts in the raiding skills of Marat Oganesyan’s henchmen. But would somebody be willing to locate his trace in that scheme?
On September 21, kingpin Vladimir Vagin, aka Vagon, hanged himself. Two years earlier another thief in law Max Pioner also committed suicide. Vagon's lawyer does not believe in the version of suicide and intends to apply for a forensic medical examination.