Recently included in the US sanctions list, Russian politician Alexander Babakov continues to conduct business in Ukraine and at the same time help "Putin's friends" in the West.
Alexander Babakov spent 13 years in the State Duma, now sits in the Federation Council. During the time of the deputy's office, he was officially considered one of the poorest inhabitants of the Okhotny Ryad. In the declarations submitted to him, they were simply income that was ridiculous for a man of his reputation in the amount of 2-3 million rubles. But when he moved to Bolshaya Dmitrovka, he stopped being shy.
According to a fresh declaration, Babakov, with an income of 318 million rubles, immediately got on the list of the most wealthy representatives of power. His real estate is estimated at about $ 100 million on Ukraine alone. However, soon the Russian patriot may say goodbye to business on "enemy territory".
Scale of the figure
In June, Babakov was included in the US sanctions list. He himself associated this with "a high appraisal of his work". Babakov is not an ordinary senator, but a special representative of the president for interaction with compatriots abroad.
It was the name of Vladimir Putin's confidant who figured in the scandal with the financing of the "friend of Russia" Marin Le Pen. According to the publication Mediapart, Babakov acted as an intermediary in concluding a deal with a candidate for the presidency of France, and the Re: Baltica investigation site calls him "the key figure" in transferring money to the "National Front" from Moscow.
In politics, the future special representative came in 2003, first elected to the lower house. He replaced Dmitry Rogozin as chairman of the Rodina Party, then he was in the leadership of Just Russia. In 2011, broke up with Sergei Mironov, joined the "Popular Front" and received a mandate from the Duma in the "United Russia". Now he represents the Tambov Region in SovFed.
Ironically, Babakov's ex-colleague for the deputy corps - the runaway Denis Voronenkov - was shot near the Premier Palace Hotel, which belongs to the special representative of the Kremlin. Besides this hotel in Kiev, Babakov is engaged in other business in Ukraine. Focus magazine in 2016 included the Russian senator in the list of the 100 richest people in Ukraine, estimating his fortune at $ 91 million (53rd place).
Hryvnia does not smell
His career was born in Chisinau, Alexander Babakov started in Ukraine back in 1988 with the leadership of Voznesensk factory for the production and dressing of leather. Today, it remains the majority shareholder of a number of Ukrainian energy companies, including Kyivoblenergo, Odessaoblenergo, Zhytomiroblenergo, Kirovogradoblenergo, and Khersonoblenergo. Together with other Russian entrepreneurs, he is the beneficiary of the VS Energy group of companies. In addition to eight regional power plants, it owns 19 hotels. Previously VS Energy also included a small agricultural holding "UIFK-Agro", a significant stake in Dneprospetsstal and the First Investment Bank.
- Why at the time, while our guys are dying in the Donbass, the Russian business is quietly working in the center of Kiev? The money earned in Ukraine goes to the aggressor country, to Moscow, - the Ukrainian political analyst Alexander Reshmedilov is indignant (a similar question is asked in Moscow, referring to Ukrainian business in Russia).
VS Energy's business was not stopped even by the fact that Babakov, as a State Duma deputy, voted to join the Crimea to Russia. However, the local press writes that recently Russian businessmen have been "stimulated" to sell Ukrainian assets through inspections of the siloviki. And the most interesting is that the buyer can become structures close to the head of the Ukrainian state.
In early August, the Ukrainian media published a draft agreement (its authenticity was not officially confirmed), according to which three VS Energy energy companies are bought by firms affiliated with the president. And at prices below market prices. In exchange for the remaining enterprises, the authorities introduce RAB-tariffs, which provide for an increase in the cost of services for the population in favor of modernization of the energy system.
Kiev journalist Alexander Dubinsky is sure that this is a fraudulent scheme:
- The tariff for electricity in the fall will again grow by 20-30%, and businesses close to the power structures will be replenished by three oblenergos. In exchange, Grigorishin (the Ukrainian billionaire - Ed.) With Babakov will get the right from power to "undress" Ukrainians.
Dubinsky calculated: with the value of assets of $ 390 million, entrepreneurs part with them for only $ 150 million.
It is curious that the power company Sevastopolenergo, which is connected with Babakov and CSKA president Yevgeny Giner, is responsible for the energy supply of the Crimea. Formally, through a branch registered in December 2014, it is a Ukrainian company. It is not ruled out that in the near future these assets will be transferred to the balance of the state holding Rosseti - the authorities of the peninsula reported on the development of options for cooperation with Sevastopolenergo. However, business in the Crimea creates for Rossetei risks of falling under Western sanctions.
Offshores and villas
In fact, Babakov is connected not only with the joint stay in the hall of plenary sessions and the place of death of the former deputy, but also figuring in one scandal - "Panamanian".
According to the declassified data of Mossack Fonseca, Babakov tried to hide his commercial presence with the help of Latvian agents. The Russian politician was the owner of the offshore AED International Limited until 2011, and then transferred a share in the company to his daughter Olga, who at that time was 23 years old. As the registration address, Olga Babakova indicated an apartment in the prestigious London area of Knightsbridge.
Olga does not hesitate to conduct business in Russia. So, the company "Logistics CS", the share in which it received in 2015, was given to the management of the Transport and Logistics Center in Khovrino.
The head of the Center for Anti-Corruption Policy of the Yabloko Party, Sergei Mitrokhin, believes that the distribution of territories under the TLC was not transparent, as a result of which the authorities associated with the authorities received privileges:
- The state land was distributed without bidding. It's outrageous that private garages (formerly located on it) were barbarously demolished, so people were forced to go out with protests. This sweep was made for the daughter of United Russia.
As for France, Babakova is connected not only with her love for Le Pen. According to the data from the French registration authorities, Irina Babakova's wife, in 2009, bought a firm that owns an estate in the French commune of Yvelines. Four years later, Mikhail Babakov, the son of the special representative, became the managing director.
In concealing the real incomes and property of Alexander Babakov, he was accused by the Anti-Corruption Foundation. The politician refuted this information.
The name of Babakov, in spite of his solid entrepreneurial and political experience, is not very familiar to the public. In our opinion, undeservedly. After all, it is a demonstration of how the advocacy of the state interests in the international arena (albeit often with non-transparent methods) together with a personal desire to make money and western comfort for the family can get along together.
Control call: "Why should I argue? It's meaningless"
During the preparation of this material, the correspondent tried to get in touch with Alexander Babakov. However, in a telephone conversation, he referred to the employment and asked to call back later.
Already before signing the issue in print, we again contacted the senator, and he said that he had nothing to do with hotels and energy companies. On the proposal more evidence to challenge the information that he is the beneficiary of business in Ukraine, Babakov refused: "Why? It is pointless. We wrote before, and now you are calling. Let".