The court confirmed the seizure of 12 billion rubles from ex-Deputy Minister of Agriculture Alexei Bazhanov. The official, who worked under the leadership of Elena Skrynnik, received money from the budget, withdrew through the Masloproduct company and fled to London. The emigrant himself is transferring arrows to FSB General Viktor Voronin, who was the head of the arrested Colonel Kirill Cherkalin. Why did Bazhanov decide to reveal the cards, and what does the current court decision mean for him?
Bread and butter
Judge Alexei Bazhanov is no stranger. Well, what else to do in exile? In 2017, a runaway ex-minister went to court in London, trying to get £ 30 million from the owner of the Blago holding company, Arkady Fosman, in compensation for the assets of the bankrupt Masloproduct group. Bazhanov claimed that Fosman threw him. They allegedly agreed that Fosman would redeem the assets of the bankrupt Masloproduct group of companies founded by Alexei Bazhanov from liquidators and creditors and share shares in a future joint venture with him. According to Bazhanov, 45% of the business should have remained with the ex-minister, and Fosman would have received 55%. However, Arkady Fosman, it seems, deceived the ex-minister, received the documents of the joint-stock company from him and stopped communicating. And in 2015, through the company Akvilon (the Russian subsidiary Akvilon LLC) he bought up the assets of Masloproduct at a lower price - for 1.6 billion rubles, increasing as a result the turnover of his business by 7.3 billion rubles. Fosman claims that he promised nothing to anyone. Bazhanov failed to prove his case in court, and the legal costs of 220 thousand pounds had to be paid.
Some kind of unlucky “Oil Product” for Alexey Bazhanov turned out. However, if it were completely unlucky, it is unlikely that its founder had the opportunity to sue, would sit quietly in London and, for example, taxed for the sake of daily bread. In the current year, the Arbitration Court of the Voronezh Region brought Bazhanov to subsidiary liability for the debts of Oil Production CJSC, which is part of the Masloproduct Group of Companies for 12.1 billion rubles. Bazhanov did not lose heart and filed an appeal. On November 26, 2019, the Nineteenth Arbitration Court of Appeal of the Voronezh Region rejected the appeal of Alexey Bazhanov. So now 12 billion rubles will be added to his debts.
And there are plenty of debts with the ex-deputy minister. He was put on the international wanted list for embezzlement, credit fraud and money laundering on an especially large scale. The total amount of damage to the acts of Mr. Bazhanov exceeds 10 billion rubles.
Fighter for justice
At the end of this summer, the press reported on the statements of the fugitive ex-minister to the Investigative Committee, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the presidential administration of Russia. Aleksey Bazhanov complained that the owner of the Blago group of companies, Arkady Fosman, was able to raider his enterprises Bazhanov with the help of the former head of the K Department of the FSB, General Viktor Voronin. According to Bazhanov, Fosman and Voronin were closely acquainted, and Fosman, at every opportunity, emphasized friendship with a high-ranking Chekist. In addition, the general’s sister, Larisa Voronina, is a co-owner of the Blago companies, she owns 10% there. The company's charter documents confirm this fact.
In addition, Bazhanov claims in his statements that criminal cases were brought against him after he refused to testify against Voronin against former Minister of Agriculture Elena Skrynnik, First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov and Voronezh Region Governor Alexei Gordeev. The meeting between Bazhanov, Voronin and Frolov at which these questions were raised was allegedly organized by Fosman in 2009, when Bazhanov served as deputy minister of agriculture, and it took place not in the dungeons of the FSB, but in the lobby of the Hyatt metropolitan hotel.
Anticipating the question of why he had not laid out all these piquant details in a London court, Bazhanov said that he decided to open the cards after a series of high-profile arrests of subordinates of the former head of the K Department, Viktor Voronin - Dmitry Frolov and Kirill Cherkalin. Here we can’t remember that during the search Cherkalin seized cash worth 12 billion rubles. Well now, from Bazhanov himself, the court also demands 12 billion, some kind of enchanted figure.
There were enough troubles for General Viktor Voronin without Bazhanov’s statements. Now he will also be checked for involvement in the raider seizure "Masloproduct." The Department “K” of the FSB economic security service is considered one of the key divisions of the special services and the entire system of law enforcement agencies to combat economic crimes. The scope of the KGB’s activities, in addition to controlling financial institutions, included countering smuggling and embezzlement of budget funds. Victor Voronin headed the department for 12 years, from 2004 to 2016. It was at this time that the notorious and now arrested colonels Dmitry Frolov, Andrei Vasiliev and Kirill Cherkalin made a career. Voronin himself officially resigned on August 1, 2016, when a criminal case was opened on a bribe against his subordinate from the unit in charge of the customs authorities, as well as the case of St. Petersburg businessman Dmitry Mikhalchenko, with whom the general, according to him, had long-standing friendships. Now the general is working as the deputy director of the Fizpribor plant.
But why did it suddenly attracted Alexey Bazhanov to frankness? Really for the sake of justice?
“And the smoke of the Fatherland is sweet and pleasant to us”
In February last year, business thinker Boris Titov named 16 names of Russian entrepreneurs who are forced to live abroad due to unreasonable, in their opinion, persecution, but are ready to return if their cases are reviewed.
Alexey Bazhanov is also on this list. The Prosecutor General’s Office studied the cases of all those mentioned, some of them were removed from the wanted list, and some were given the opportunity to return to Russia without fear of a possible arrest. Is it not possible to return, dictating statements of Alexei Bazhanov are dictated? Doesn't he sit in London? Maybe the climate did not fit, but maybe you want to take revenge? In any case, the court’s decision to dismiss the appeal indicates that his journey home will not be smooth. However, everything flows, everything changes, maybe someday we will still find out new details of how and what happened to the Bazhenov Group of Companies “Masloproduct”. Time will tell who is right and who is not.