The State Hermitage appreciated the damage caused by the actions of the head of the Rospan group of companies, Nikita Kolesnikov, who was the contractor for the construction of the public library building of the museum as part of a large-scale project of a new storage facility, at 860 million rubles. The allegation of fraud was sent to the SCR (Investigation Committee of Russia) earlier this week, and yesterday the detained Kolesnikov and former Deputy Minister of Culture Grigory Pirumov, whom the investigation considers the organizer of the fraud, was formally charged with embezzlement. And it turned out that part of the funds stolen from the Hermitage, the accused were used in the space museum in Kaluga. Thefts from there became an episode of the first investigation against the masters of Pirumov and Kolesnikov, for which they escaped the real terms. Today, the Basmanny District Court will arrest the recidivists in criminal cases related to the cultural heritage.
The contract of the State Hermitage with OOO Mehstroitrans, which is under the control of Nikita Kolesnikov, in the amount of 3.667 billion rubles. was concluded in December 2015 following the auction held by the museum. According to Kommersant sources, this Moscow company was promoted by the leaders of the Ministry of Culture from the figures of the previous "restorers' case" - Grigory Pirumov and the head of the property management and investment policy department of the ministry Boris Mazo, who received such a large contract on the St. Petersburg market of "cultural projects". By the way, the leader of the market at that time was the St. Petersburg company Baltstroy, which appeared in the first "business of restorers". "Mehstroitrans" undertook to build a 60-meter transparent cube with a double façade designed by the world-famous Dutch architect, Pritzker Prize winner Rem Koolhaas, by the beginning of 2019, in which the public library of the Hermitage was to be located, where it was planned to transport about 1 million books stored in it excluding rare editions and reference works, as well as a collection of costumes and a fashion research center. The most complex architectural element was to be a covered hanging gallery over a nearby railway, arranged on the principle of medieval trade bridges.
According to the site of state procurement, the Hermitage in July 2017 terminated the contract with the contractor unilaterally, while in fact from the budget Mehstroitrans received 1.093 billion rubles. FAS on August 3, 2017 entered information about the contractor in the register of unscrupulous suppliers. As it turned out, there were no own resources for the construction of a large-scale construction in St. Petersburg from the contractor initially. And the advance payment paid by the Hermitage was immediately transferred by MehstroiTrans for doubtful contracts to the companies, most of whom were members of the same Rospan group.
In particular, 600 million rubles. got actually controlled by Mr. Kolesnikov LLC Horizont - the company was the general contractor of the construction of the second stage of the Cosmonautics Museum. Tsiolkovsky in Kaluga. Funds for this construction were stolen in 2014-2015, and this episode entered the first "deal of restorers." The volume of works performed by Horizont LLC on the Hermitage project is estimated at 90 million rubles.
At the same time, the real subcontractors engaged in preparing the pile field for the Hermitage did not receive payment in the proper amount from the very beginning. In total, according to the Hermitage, as of the beginning of July 2017, 14% of the total volume of works stipulated by the contract was fulfilled, while the backlog from the approved schedule of works was about eight to nine months, which caused the disruption of the commissioning of the facility. Construction work at the facility was completely discontinued in April 2017.
In the decision to terminate the contract, the Hermitage demanded the return of 856.5 million rubles. undeveloped advance. Advancement of the contract for the amount of about 917 million rubles. was authorized by the Federal Treasury, which controlled all payments. But for a year and a half the contractor, according to Kommersant's information, completed the preparatory work for the amount of about 270 million rubles, in fact, it did not start construction. To date, only a part of the pile field has been made, which was paid for by the acts of the executed works. Upon termination of the contract in 2017 it was established that the real works, though somehow aimed at creating the object, were not conducted later in the summer of 2016. Any activity until the spring of 2017 was aimed only at creating visibility in connection with the increased attention of the press to stopping work on the site. For example, the site did not perform a number of preparatory work required for ongoing activities. As a security for the contract, the contractor submitted a bank guarantee for RUB1.111 billion. issued by the First Czech-Russian Bank, which in 2016 was revoked a license, and its leadership was recently announced as an international wanted list for theft. The Hermitage notes that in the framework of the contract of bank guarantee the contractor transferred a large amount to the bank, which already from January 2016 reduced the volume of assets, engaged in the withdrawal of funds.
The situation on the return of the budget billion is complicated by the bankruptcy of Mehstroytrans, against which, in January 2018, bankruptcy proceedings were instituted. According to "Kommersant", among the assets identified by the bankrupt, there are real estate, including land in other regions of Russia, as well as cars. The Hermitage said yesterday that the museum "is taking unprecedented steps to recover funds advanced to the unscrupulous contractor LLC Mehstroitrans." Usually, even if the unscrupulousness of the contractor is obvious, budgetary institutions and organizations are powerless in the part of unilateral termination of the contract, and after it can not achieve the return of advance payments, stressed in the museum. But "despite the fierce resistance through a massive contest of all the actions of the Hermitage and the delaying of the process by the contractor," the Moscow Arbitration Court recognized the museum as the largest creditor with a claim amount of about 860 million rubles. This status allowed the Hermitage to choose an arbitration manager - it was Ivan Yakovenko. "As part of the bankruptcy proceedings, data were received confirming that budget funds were distributed among companies associated with Kolesnikov. Also, property was transferred to the balance of OOO Mehstroitrans, due to which it could be repaid his debt to the Hermitage, "the museum said, adding that" this information was brought to the creditors' committee a few days ago. " "Thus, the State Hermitage had clear evidence that the advance money was stolen by fraudulent means," the museum explained. Observing the requirements of budgetary and financial discipline, the Hermitage issued a statement in the TFR to initiate the theft of advances through the companies of the SC "Rospan" criminal case under Part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code (fraud in a particularly large amount, committed by a group of individuals). He was aroused, according to Kommersant's information, on May 16.
In the TFR, it was reported that on the same day investigators and officers of the FSB, after searching the houses and apartments of Mr Pirumov and Kolesnikov, detained both. Yesterday in the TFR, they were formally charged. In them, according to "Kommersant", it is about cashing 450 million rubles. of the advance payments that the alleged organizers of the fraud could share with each other. Today, the investigation will file petitions for arrests in the Basmanny District Court. The lawyer of Mr. Pirumov, Fedor Kupriyanov, refrained from commenting. Meanwhile, Vladislav Musiyaka, managing partner of the Security System Bureau, explained to Kommersant that the lawyers of the bureau are providing legal assistance to another investigator, the former Minkult official Boris Mazo. According to the lawyer, his client still has no procedural status. As it turned out, the ex-officer has been on treatment for a month already. Nevertheless, Vladislav Musiyaka explained, a search was carried out in Mr. Mazo's Moscow apartment, during which nothing was withdrawn.
The very appearance of the claims of the investigation to Mr Pirumov, Mazo and Kolesnikov was also associated with the contract between the Ministry of Culture and the firm of the latter. "There was a contract, there was money and there was a conflict over their spending," said the defender, who believes that in this case "100 percent civil-law case", which is subject to review in the arbitration court.
Recall that in the case of restorers, the defendants Pirumov, Mazo and Kolesnikov avoided realistic deadlines. They fully acknowledged their guilt, paid damages of 100 million rubles. And when they were brought to court in a special order, they received suspended sentences, or, as Mr. Pirumov, served in the pretrial detention center.