IKEA strikes back: Konstantin Ponomarev, who forced the Swedes to pay 25 billion rubles, has been arrested

The businessman is accused of fraud, the bribery of witnesses, the fabrication of evidence and non-payment of taxes. In addition to the episodes with IKEA, fraudulent deliveries of generators to the Crimea also appear in the case.
The Presnensky court arrested businessman Konstantin Ponomarev, who had previously sue IKEA, having received 25 billion rubles from the Swedish company. The businessman is accused of six articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, among them an attempt of especially large fraud in the supply of generators to the Crimea, RIA Novosti reported. The businessman said that he does not recognize the blame and does not intend to obstruct the investigation. "The essence of the charges against me is not clear, I do not admit my guilt," he said.

Generators for Kubanenergo and falsified penalties

According to the investigation, TASS reports, Ponomarev organized a criminal scheme of stealing 5.5 billion rubles owned by Kubanenergo. Knowing about the measures taken by the authorities to organize power supply in the Crimea during the energy blockade, Ponomarev provided 71 power generators for the use of the power company to supply electricity to the Crimea.

Simultaneously, Ponomarev created a chain of fictitious documents that transfer generators to subleased entities affiliated with the entrepreneur. At the same time, according to the terms of the agreement, such actions were imposed with penalties - therefore, they were transferred to sublease without agreement with the tenant.

Later, the businessman appealed to the Krasninskiy District Court of the Smolensk region with a lawsuit about the return of generators. The court, misled by Ponomarev's testimony and documents, satisfied the requirements and ordered Kubanenergo to return the equipment within 5 months.

However, Ponomarev again appealed to the court, this time demanding to collect 4.2 billion rubles - for the use of electric generators in sublease without his consent, and another 1.3 billion rubles - as interest for the use of other people's money. Ponomarev could not finish his plan. The court did not have time to consider the claim and later returned it to Ponomarev, as Kubanenergo appealed to law enforcement agencies. Based on the results of the inspections against the businessman, a criminal case was opened.

The lawsuit with IKEA - an endless saga

In addition, the claim of the investigation was caused by the litigation of the businessman with the company IKEA. The conflict between Ponomarev and the Swedish company lasted from 2006 - more than 8 years. The dispute concerns the lease of 200 diesel power plants for the supply of hypermarkets in St. Petersburg.

The businessman accused the Swedish company that by 2008 it stopped paying for their rent. In turn, IKEA disputed the lease, indicating, in particular, that the cost of renting generators was significantly higher than the average. In 2010, the parties entered into an amicable agreement, under which the businessman received compensation of 25 billion rubles.

However, then the businessman demanded to pay an additional 33 billion rubles. Then the Supreme Arbitration Court of Russia passed a verdict that all decisions of lower courts that rejected claims against IKEA Mos are not subject to revision. However, this proceeding did not stop.

In early December 2016, the Krasny court, at the request of Ponomarev, arrested 9.3 billion rubles in IKEA accounts in Russia as security measures for the new lawsuit. The decision caused a great response and was canceled after the intervention of business ombudsman Boris Titov. He said that "such scandals with a large foreign company adversely affect the investment attractiveness of the whole country."

The case of Ponomarev vs IKEA continues - the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in January 2017 established that the IKEA case should initially have been heard in the Moscow region of Khimki - at the place of registration of the company, and not in the village of Krasny Smolensk region, where it fell in violation of the norms of jurisdiction. In addition, the Krasniansky court examined the evidence in the case without the participation of representatives of IKEA, and without appointing a company, appointed expert assessments.

Finally, as a separate episode in the courts, a story is considered with Ponomarev's fabrication in his address of slanderous statements. As it follows from the materials of the case, which is currently considered by the Presnensky Court, in 2014 Ponomarev, together with his lawyer, Maxim Zagorsky, created artificial evidence of alleged defamation in his own address.

For this, the lawyer bribed two people who became a "witness" and "accused" in the criminal case of libel against Ponomarev. At the same time, Zagorsky paid $ 20,000 to the "witness", and $ 50,000 to the "slanderer." After securing the information needed by Ponomarev in the sentence of one of the suburban courts (in the lawsuit with IKEA), he used them in other lawsuits. The result is that Ponomarev is currently also charged with Article 1 of Art. 309 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation "Bribery of a witness or a victim for the purpose of giving false testimony".

"We realized long ago that Ponomarev's" business "consists of implementing various schemes to create" evidence "for courts to obtain significant funds from their counterparts in judicial or pre-trial order," said Vladimir Mikhailov, a lawyer representing IKEA in the courts. In particular, according to Mikhailov, the representatives of IKEA knew that Ponomarev had attracted his acquaintances Vlasenko and Isaev, and, having initiated 5 civil and criminal cases, had obtained acts containing the necessary conclusions regarding him, in particular, IKEA.

"It was obvious to any competent lawyer that the process was staged, such manipulations fall under a number of articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. We have achieved the recognition of those acts as illegal, but we had no direct evidence of collusion. We believe that since the case was initiated, the law enforcement bodies managed to obtain such evidence, "Mikhailov said.

Ponomarev and the Browder case

Ponomarev also serves as a witness in the case of William Browder, co-founder of Hermitage Capital. In particular, Ponomarev claims Browder's involvement in tax fraud. The founder of Hermitage Capital is accused in Russia of tax evasion on an especially large scale. The investigation believes that he and the lawyer of the foundation Sergei Magnitsky created a criminal scheme, as a result of which the Russian budget received less than 520 million rubles.