Since 2011, three dozen companies directly or indirectly connected with the notorious businessman Yevgeny Prigogine received over five thousand government contracts for a total of almost 210 billion rubles. And this is only by minimal calculation based on open data. At the same time, often competitive procedures with the participation of prigoginsk firms took place in violation of antitrust laws, which was confirmed not only by investigative journalism, but also by the findings of the Federal Antimonopoly Service.
Firms affiliated with Yevgeny Prigogine took the lion's share of all purchases of the Russian Ministry of Defense and not only of this department, ignoring the FAS and violating laws protecting competition. This is stated in one of the parts of a large investigation of the resource “Present”, dedicated to the diverse activities of the billionaire businessman.
According to journalists, over the past eight years, companies from the business empire of Prigogine have mastered 5 thousand 393 state contracts for a total of 209.23 billion rubles. And the lion's share of them are contracts with the Ministry of Defense.
After the appointment of Anatoly Serdyukov, the Minister of Defense, who was not a military man, but was an official with the talent of a supply manager, they began to transfer all economic activities of the Russian army to market rails. Gradually, all aspects of the economic support of the military — food, clothing, laundry, cleaning, repair of equipment, etc. — were outsourced to contractors. Billions of rubles in the form of contracts in a market economy should have generated serious competition and, as a result, lower prices for services and improved quality, but the Russian realities turned out to be stronger than this principle, and the market is now divided between cartels.
Thus, Yevgeny Prigogine’s syndicate receives a substantial share of orders from the Ministry of Defense through a dozen dissimilar companies, winning contests by simulating competition between its associated companies. Belonging to the empire Prigogine part of them confirmed by journalistic investigations. These are Moscow Schoolchild, Ekobalt, Shkolnik-YuZ, Special Resource, St. Petersburg Culinary, Social Nutrition Center, RestaurantService Plus, ProdFoodService, Pishchevik, Mercury , Komponent, TSA, TKS, Teplosnab, Eurogroup, Teplosintez, ProfTechServices, Prometheus, Catering, NordEnergo, Moscow Time, Moscow Cookery, Concord Plus , Concord Management and Consulting, Concord M, KDP-Kettering, AVK, MedStroy, Preschool Eating Plant and Vito-1.
At the same time, journalists emphasize that 209 billion is a very approximate figure, because many companies Prigogine does not recognize as its own, they formally belong to its employees and other nominal owners and so far have not been able to prove their affiliation to the “Kremlin cook”.
“But most of all, the decision to hide the volume of government contracts was influenced by the decision of the Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, who in 2017 allowed Voentorg and other subsidiaries of the Ministry of Defense to classify information on public procurement. It is also known that many companies have not previously received public government contracts from the Ministry of Defense, but still provided services to military units, ”the newspaper writes.
Prigogine manages a huge structure through several people who, in turn, are directors and founders of dozens of companies with either a common address, or a single corporate lawyer, or who regularly participate in the same competitions with a predictable result.
“This is how it works on the example of Pavel Arnold, Director of the Catering Company, whose connection with Prigogine has already been proved earlier. Arnold, together with a certain Alla Petrova, founded the company Litera. Petrova, in turn, owns ITC LLC. The company "ITC" did not receive government contracts, but it is known that in 2013 it provided services to military unit 63559 (the village of Domna, Chita Region). According to the documents, ITC Director is Elena Mozhar, who, together with Elena Bukhantseva, opened ITC CJSC in 2014. Simultaneously with Catering Ltd. Pavel Arnold opened CJSC Catering, which with this name lasted until 2018. The relationship of these and other legal entities is not in doubt. The same Elena Bukhantseva, who stood at the origins of ITC, has been the owner of Pishevik LLC since 2010. This company has government contracts with the Ministry of Defense for food, similar to the one that supplies Arnold's Catering Company with the Russian army, ”cites an example of the affiliation of the structures of the“ Present ”syndicate.
Price without quality
The Ministry of Defense is not the only major customer of Prigogine’s companies. The syndicate crushed the organization of school and preschool feeding in Moscow - at the end of last year, dozens of pupils poisoned in Moscow kindergartens to which products of the Concord structure (one of Prigogine’s main companies) were poisoned. Later, insider information about numerous violations of sanitary requirements at Concord enterprises and austerity on the quality of the products supplied got into the media. The TFR opened a criminal case upon poisoning, and the parents of the poisoned children began collecting signatures for the termination of the contract with Concord.
Also, the business empire of Prigogine has captured the sphere of nutrition of patients of metropolitan hospitals. Several major tenders, the Moscow mayor's office for the total amount of about 3 billion rubles were won by Social Nutrition Center, which, according to journalists, is associated with an odious billionaire.
Earlier, the Fund for the Fight against Corruption of Alexei Navalny has repeatedly revealed the cartel schemes used by Prigogine’s companies when participating in tenders for major government contracts. Due to unfair and even fake competition, firms were able to obtain contracts with a minimal price reduction, due to which the state lost more than 8 billion rubles - only for those contracts that FBK was dealing with. Later, the FAS recognized part of the deals as really violating the law and fined several prigoginsk firms, although it had ignored the obvious monopolistic approach of the syndicate structures.
“Examples of chains of ties between Prigogine’s companies are very important for understanding the structure of a business that cannot be grasped by any point checks or investigations. Too much of a picture is difficult to keep in mind - and it will be interesting for anyone to understand the dozens of LLCs that receive government contracts, ”the present-time investigation says.
As the experts explained, such a branched structure of a business empire not only helps its owner to get away from all sorts of checks and public attention, but also allows them to capitalize on the state through cartel agreements.