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 today it was not even about jeans and sheepskin coats, but about a drug traffic and the whole criminal syndicate which delivers ‘junk’.

Sea trade port of Ust-Lug is today in center of attention. The story with detentions of loads, checks of transport police and Northwest Customs Office (NCO), already turns into volumes of criminal cases. But it is only an iceberg apex, the CrimeRussia’s source declares. Not only smuggling of clothes got into the story of joint illegal activities of the large St. Petersburg broker Igor Havronov and Turkish businessman Dzhibrail Karaarslan, now it is about drugs trading. Details – in the material of the CrimeRussia.



Turkish combinor

Operations of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Ust-Luga and batches of Turkish clothes detained by security officers, which according to documents were “building materials” and “Chinese household chemicals”, which came by the ULS Global ferry, paralyzed operation of port. Thus, from January to April of this year, when famous broker Igor Havronov was arrested, owners of the loads naturally disappeared.

The active checks of law enforcement agencies during which data of senders was carefully studied became the reason of these ‘disappearances’. As it became clear, almost against every second of them, criminal case may be initiated.

By the existing rules, the arrived loads remain stored in port before submission of the declaration by receivers. At the same time the port stores the load free of charge only during certain number of days, and then ‘counter’ turns on and sum for each following day is added. But severe customs rules do not frighten businessmen and only the most courageous of them decide to submit the customs declaration. They decide to submit the customs declaration. Freedom – is more expensive.

The convenient diagram of a customs clearance of goods, which was carried out by Igor Havronov and his patrons in Main Directorate on fight against smuggling of the Federal Customs Service and Service of an economic safety of FSB of the Russian Federation (Pavel Smolyarchuk and Vadim Uvarov's case), gave the chance to gain profit not only to affiliated structures of Dmitry Mikhalchenko, but also many other businessmen wishing to enter on a risky contraband track.


The transport and logistic company ULS Global annually imported goods through Ust-Lug port for $2 billion. It means that the budget in this case shall receive $600-750 million. Rates on illegal transportation are much lower. According to RBC, an importer should pay ‘under-the-counter cash’ in  $45−60 thousands. From them 3 thousand − are payment of goods cover. According to the CrimeRussia’s source, from 10 to 12 thousand dollars go on bribes to customs officers and security officers. 

However today it is not only about jeans and sheepskin coats, but about drug traffic and the whole criminal syndicate which delivers drugs.

In August, 2016 the authorities of the closest Turkish neighbor – Iran, declared disclosure of a network of international trade in drugs. As a result of operation of the Iranian intelligence agencies several tens of percent from an annual turnover of the drug traffic going from Afghanistan were excepted. The main flow of a potion follows from the Provinces of Sistan and Balochistan along a so-called Balkan route which goes from Afghanistan to Iran, Turkey, and from there − to the states of Western Europe, sometimes very unsuccessfully for many countries (including ours) being crossed with a transport way of North-South. It should be noted that terrorist organization ISIS, forbidden in the Russian Federation, chose Balochistan as the traditional place of financial ‘feeding’.


Searches and the subsequent arrests within legal investigation of ULS Global which FSB developed regarding illegal import to the territory of Russia of the Turkish goods except the last, had one more motive, hidden form the public – ‘committees’ are looking for drug supply channels. It is possible to assume that after the blow struck by intelligence agencies of Iran, the scheme ‘junk’ delivery to Europe could undergo changes; drug barons do not want to lose 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 the forbidden goods, could be also involved in financing of the fighters, who are in Syria at war against Bashar al-Assad. Whether Karaarslan could in that case help some local ‘respectable people’ to deliver their goods to countries of Europe along the logistic routes and on his own transport? The answer to this question arises itself.

Джабраил Караарслан

How to become a millionaire

As it is already clear, defendants and participants of this criminal scheme − people not poor, but many are known as millionaires for a long time. For example, Dzhabrail Karaarslan’s business partner Igor Havronov − owner of magnificent country houses and yachts in Italy, and also several real estate objects in Vienna. Pavel Smolyarchuk and Vadim Uvarov's spouses are owners of the jewelry brand Sweet Staff Jewellery. Besides, Smolyarchuk's wife − founder of a number of the companies with turnovers of hundreds of millions.

As the CrimeRussia wrote earlier, except the fundamental official duties, arrested Havronov was also engaged in elimination of competitors, initiating arrests of others deliveries. According to some information, rates of bribes for the “solution of a question” in this case reached 2−3 million dollars. However efforts of two corrupted security officers for scope which ULS Global was able to afford are obviously not enough. Till the known time Havronov quite successfully used Ivan Lapshin and Pavel Nikolayenkov's services. The first in the past − former employee of the 3rd department of service of anti-corruption of Northwest customs office − worked at him as deputy of security service of ULS Global. The second − ex-deputy chief of the Vyborg customs − also held rather big position in ULS. Only players of the ‘shadow’ market can imagine how many benefit in financial calculation Lapshin and Nikolayenkov brought 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 they began to cooperate with other trickster of the customs world – the being deputy head of department of the Federal Registration Service for St. Petersburg Boris Avakyan. It is hard to tell who, whom and how “handed over” in this illicit history. Nevertheless 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, however further the investigation considered that they should be held in custody the same as former head of department of Main Directorate of fight against smuggling of FCS Maxim Moseychuk. The main person involved in this case Boris Avakyan run away abroad and is wanted through the Interpol.

If to argue logically, then the adjusted business of smugglers ‘fell down’ not even with arrest of billionaire Dmitry Mikhalchenko, and after resignation of head of FCS Andrey Belyaninov. It would be strange that such lawlessness reigns in Northwest customs office that literally monthly FSB finds all new and new smuggling channels there.

Today it is possible to say that the way of deliveries blazed by ULS Global ‘fell down’ as a house of cards. The investigation has in this case a powerful trump in the form of Gennady Kotlyarov managing affairs of the company in Italy. According to some media, Kotlyarov “suddenly realized” that he was an employee of the organization which carried out criminal activity, he was captured by repentance and he decided to give evidences to law enforcement agencies. To illuminate FSB concerning illicit business of Dzhabrail Karaarslan, he arrived to Moscow. The businessman has all reasons to fuss - the soiled reputation can put an end to his plans for 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.

Connections of all specified persons in one criminal link already, probably, not a secret for law enforcement agencies and therefore criminal cases are multiplied in great amount.  Some questions are still behind scenes - how many officials and the high-ranking security officers are still supported by this highly profitable business and whether it will be developed as a result into banal “fight against windmills”? It is known that Dzhabrail Karaarslan already uses his friendship with Erdzhep Erdogan. His purpose − to resume export operations on sale of freights to Russia. And in this regard it becomes absolutely clear that as soon as new economic ways are open, new illicit schemes will start working at once, 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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