Having studied all offshore companies from the Swedbank report, we found out that at least 38 out of 70 companies owned or continue to own large Russian assets in the electric power industry, bridge and machine building, coal mining and agribusiness. Some companies participated in the structures of Abyzov's main business group - RU-COM. Assets not quite relevant for the businessman were recorded on some, including:
Digital October Center for business events and educational projects;
professional community of Russian-speaking doctors “Doctor at work”;
boarding house "Energetik", previously owned by RAO UES;
Cardiology Sanatorium Center “Peredelkino”;
management company of the largest Novosibirsk class A business center “Kronos";
a company that owns a network of entertainment planets (now liquidated due to bankruptcy).
Part of the sale of Russian assets was concluded when Mikhail Abyzov was a minister and did not have the right to engage in entrepreneurial activity. Until 2017, he had to declare his shares in companies, including foreign ones. You can find out whether the ex-minister did this only by reading his full declaration, since the public section, accessible to citizens, does not contain information about the companies. Since 2017, after making amendments to the law, Abyzov could no longer have anything to do with offshore companies.
And yet, from 2012 to 2018, Abyzov’s offshore companies participated in complex transactions in Russia, including the purchase of shares in the largest Russian heavy power engineering company Elsib, as suggested by experts, the ex-minister, interviewed by Novaya Gazeta could not know.
“The use of offshore structures by Russian companies usually has clear goals: reducing tax payments, maintaining the confidentiality of transaction participants, or using a more predictable judicial system. In the case under consideration, part of the offshore transactions could take place with the aim of taking assets abroad with the possibility of anonymous ownership and management of offshore structures by a public official, ”explains Ilya Shumanov, deputy director of Transparency International Russia.
“In turn, Mikhail Abyzov, as minister, did not have the right to engage in entrepreneurial activity in person or through proxies, including in offshore jurisdictions. But given the complex structure of his companies, it can be assumed that it was he who was behind the consolidation of all these assets in offshore, and the initiative for key intra-corporate transactions could come from him, ”said Shumanov.