How Turkish business profits from greed of Russian corrupt officials? 

How Turkish business profits from greed of Russian corrupt officials?
Seaport in the middle of corruption scandal Photo: The CrimeRussia

According to the CrimeRussia’s source, the criminal syndicate is transferring not only jeans and sheepskin coats, but drugs as well.

The Sea trade port of Ust-Lug (located in Leningrad Region, North-Western part of Russia) came under attention. As a result of detentions of loads, as well as checks by transport police and Northwest Customs Office (NCO), a series of criminal cases have been initiated. As the CrimeRussia’s source claims, illegal activities of influential St. Petersburg broker Igor Havronov and Turkish businessman Dzhibrail Karaarslan involve not only smuggling of clothes, but drugs trading as well. The CrimeRussia found out details on the topic.



Turkish combinor

During Federal Security Service (FSB)’s checks, the work of Ust-Luga was suspended. The law enforces arrested batches of Turkish clothes, which were registered as “building materials” and “Chinese household chemicals and delivered by the ULS Global ferry. As a result, famous broker Igor Havronov was arrested in January this year, while owners of the loads disappeared. The reason was active checks by law enforcement agencies of the suppliers. As it became clear, almost all of them were involved in criminal activities.

In accordance with the rules, the arrived loads remain stored in a port before submission of the declaration by receivers. Meanwhile, a port stores the load free of charge only during certain number of days, after that a fee for a day stats to be charged. But severe customs rules do not frighten businessmen and only the most courageous of them decide to submit the customs declaration, probably because freedom is much more important to them.

The convenient scheme of customs clearance of goods, which was carried out by Igor Havronov and his patrons in the Main Department for Combating Contraband of the Federal Customs Service and FSB (Pavel Smolyarchuk and Vadim Uvarov's case), allowed to get profit not only to affiliated structures of Dmitry Mikhalchenko, but also to many other businessmen.


The transport and logistic company ULS Global has annually imported goods through Ust-Lug port for $2 billion. It means that the budget was to receive $600-750 million from that sum. The rates on illegal transportation are much lower. According to RBC, an importer should pay ‘under-the-counter cash’ in the amount of $45−60 thousands. $3.000 is payment of goods’ ‘under cover’. According to the CrimeRussia’s source, about $10.000 – 12.000 is paid to customs officers and security officers as bribes. 

However, the criminal syndicate is transferring not only jeans and sheepskin coats, but drugs as well.

In August, 2016 Iran exposed a network of international drugs trade. As a result of an operation of the Iranian intelligence agencies, several tens of percent of annual turnover of the drug traffic going from Afghanistan were detained. The main flow of drug traffic is laid from the Provinces of Sistan and Balochistan through the so-called Balkan route which goes from Afghanistan to Iran, Turkey, and then to Western Europe. Sometimes this rout is crossed with a transport way of North-South, from where drugs come to Russia as well. It should be noted that terrorist organization ISIS, forbidden in the Russian Federation, chose Balochistan as a place of income.


North-South transport rout   

Searches and arrests within investigation of the case regarding ULS Global over illegal import of Turkish goods to the territory of Russia had another ground, hidden form the public - drug supply channels exposure. It is likely that after the operation by intelligence agencies of Iran, the scheme of drugs delivery to Europe could undergo changes, and drug barons did not want to lose their profit.

In this regard, Turkish citizen Dzhabrail Karaarslan could be seen in other light. Some media even published a version that oligarch Mikhalchenko, profiting on transportation of forbidden goods, could be also involved in financing of militants fighting in Syria against Bashar al-Assad. It is possible that Karaarslan could help some local ‘respectable people’ to deliver their goods to countries of Europe with his own transport.

Джабраил Караарслан

How to become a millionaire

As it turned out, defendants and participants of this criminal scheme are very rich rich people. For example, Dzhabrail Karaarslan’s business partner Igor Havronov is an owner of luxury country houses and yachts in Italy, and several real estate objects in Vienna. Pavel Smolyarchuk and Vadim Uvarov's spouses are owners of the jewelry brand Sweet Staff Jewellery. Smolyarchuk's wife is also a founder of a number of companies with hundreds of millions turnover.

As the CrimeRussia wrote earlier, along with his official duties, the arrested Havronov was also engaged in elimination of competitors, initiating arrests of deliveries. According to some information, the amount of a bribe for solution of the problem in this case reached 2−3 million dollars. However, two corrupted security officers were not able to provide help for ULS Global with its large-scale traffic. For some time, Havronov use to enjoy services of Ivan Lapshin and Pavel Nikolayenkov. The first one, a former officer of the Northwest customs office, worked for him as the deputy for security service in ULS Global. The second one, an ex-deputy chief of the Vyborg customs, also worked in ULS. Only participants of the ‘shadow’ market can imagine how much money did Lapshin and Nikolayenkov contribute to the Russian-Turkish illicit business with their knowledge.

Павел Смолярчук

Pavel Smolyarchuk

It is unclear what became the cause of conflict between Havronov and Lapshin−Nikolayenkov tandem, however after a while another player of the ‘customs world’, deputy head of department of the Federal Registration Service for St. Petersburg Boris Avakyan, appeared. It is hard to tell who, surrenderd in this illicit history. Yet there is information that the former security officers after detention in August, 2016 gave testimonies to FSB against both Havronov, and Avakyan.


Boris Avakyan


At first both former security officers were connected to Boris Avakyan's case (on failure to pay customs payments) only as witnesses. Later investigation considered that they should be held in custody together with head of department of Main Directorate of fight against smuggling of FCS Maxim Moseychuk. The main person involved in this case, Boris Avakyan, fled the country and was declared wanted by Interpol.

Business of smugglers was ruined not with billionaire Dmitry Mikhalchenko’s arrest, but resignation of head of FCS Andrey Belyaninov. Only presence of Belyaninov could allow such lawlessness in Northwest customs office.

Nowadays the rout used by ULS Global was ruined. The investigation has Gennady Kotlyarov as CEO of the company in Italy. According to media reports, Kotlyarov “suddenly realized” that he was an employee of the organization which carried out criminal activity. So, found himself guilty, he decided to give evidences to law enforcement agencies. He arrived to Moscow to give testimony to FSB concerning illicit business of Dzhabrail Karaarslan. The latter had reasons for worries, as this fact could prevent him from obtaining the Italian citizenship. It is necessary to tell that Kotlyarov had so much troubles with his conscience that he gave evidences ‘through the head’ of his immediate superior – Stanislav Malkov, close friend of Dmitry Mikhalchenko.

It seems, there is no secret for law enforcement agencies that all the specified persons are connected. This is why more and more criminal cases are initiated. Yet one moment still stay unclear: how many officials and t high-ranking security officers still support this highly profitable business? It is known that Dzhabrail Karaarslan already uses his friendship with Recep Erdogan. His purpose now is to resume export operations with Russia. And in this regard, it becomes absolutely clear that as soon as new economic ways are open, new illicit schemes will start working, while old ones will receive a “second chance” and doubtful Turkish business will continue to profit on greed of the Russian corrupt officials.



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