The growing conflict between the billionaire, USM Holdings founder Alisher Usmanov and public activist Aleksei Navalny is positioned as the reaction of the offshore-Russian oligarch to accusing the business community of Dmitry Medvedev's closest entourage. The accusation was voiced in a large-scale investigation conducted by the Anti-Corruption Foundation and published on the Internet.
Specifically, there was a talk about the alleged transfer by Alisher Usmanov of a mansion with a land plot (more than 4 hectares) in Odintsovo district of the Moscow Region as a gift to the Sotsgosproekt Foundation, whose supervisory board head is a classmate of the current Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Ilya Yeliseyev. This fact has amazed two groups of people - outsiders and insiders. The first were impressed by the breadth of Alisher Usmanov's soul and saw in it the presence of hidden motives, the latter, let's say, the modesty of the published data. Given that the information is likely links and even possible patronage of Alisher Usmanov Dmitry Medvedev is spreading on the Internet for more than ten years, the transfer of a plot of 4 hectares looks like a cherry on the cake - no more. After all, the hero of the video had previously visited the vice-premier, the president of the country, and the chairman of the government. And the structures of Alisher Usmanov for the same time, apparently, have received from the state far greater areas for business - both on the territory and on strategic importance.
The film about Dmitri Medvedev "He's not yours," appeared on the Internet on March 2, 2017. And the lawsuit of Alisher Burkhanovich Usmanov to the creators of the film-activist Aleksei Navalny and the non-profit organization "Fund for Fighting Corruption" was registered in the Lublin District Court of Moscow on April 12. On the same day, information was released that Alisher Burkhanovich had a new business partner. This is Igor Altushkin - Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Russian Copper Company (RMK). The structures of Igor Altushkin should receive half of the business of the Baikal Mining Company (BGK), which was controlled by USM Holdings Alisher Usmanov. The goal of the partnership is the joint development of the Udokan copper deposit.
As recognized by Alisher Usmanov, the experience of RMK will help ensure the success of the project. And the project really needs help: since the discovery of copper ore in the Trans-Baikal Territory in the late 1940s, it was promised all these years to develop, and even changed the BAM route. The situation acquired a geopolitical coloring after Russia practically lost copper deposits with the "withdrawal" of Kazakhstan. In Russian times, several attempts were made to launch copper mining on Udokan. The most successful was Alisher Usmanov. The license to develop the field was obtained by the Metalloinvest group, whose founder (through the holding structure of USM Holdings) on the corporate website is Alisher Usmanova.
Incidentally or not, this decision was made in 2008 - right after Dmitry Medvedev became president of Russia. The largest Russian oligarchic holdings - "Norilsk Nickel", SMR Oleg Deripaska and "Onexim" Mikhail Prokhorov wanted to participate in the contest for Udokan. But they did not dare to offer their applications, explaining this with economic reasons. Two more "uneasy" companies - RZhD and the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company (UMMC) - took part in the competition, but lost. Thus, Alisher Usmanov managed to break a serious gap in the Russian copper oligopoly, which formed a tandem of two corporations - UMMC and Norilsk Nickel. At the same time, Alisher Usmanov was among the shareholders of Norilsk Nickel.
The battle for Udokan was the second open clash between two influential representatives of Uzbekistan. In 1998, in a completely different era, the current founder and president of the Urals mining and metallurgical company Iskander Makhmudov (together with his then partner Mikhail Chernoy) fought with Interfin Alisher Usmanov for a 40% stake in Kuzbassrazrezugol, Russia's largest coal company and The main supplier of coking coal for metallurgy. The tandem of Black and Mahmudov won, and for Usmanov, who tried to protest, as Forbes magazine writes, Black and his partners had "serious arguments".
The license for Udokan cost Metalloinvest 15 billion rubles. Under the terms of the license agreement, the company for 5.5 years committed to organize production of 12 million tons of ore per year, and in seven years - 36 million tons, investing 4 billion US dollars. Instead, in 2014-2015, a series of statements, promises, and rumors that the ubiquitous Chinese investors will participate in the development of the field, followed. The latter - the real know-how of Russian projectors: Chinese investors are theoretically present in almost all Russian capital-intensive projects, but practically they can not be found. In early 2015, it became known that Udokan is no exception. The Chinese fund Hopu Investments did not realize in 2014 an option to buy 10% of the project. In the aside, Rostek also held out, which prudently acquired an option of 25% in the capital of BGK, but did not hurry to turn it into real shares, but watched Metalloinvest's investment throwing from the side.
From the unpleasant trial as to where, in fact, the copper promised in 2008, the structures of Alisher Usmanov were saved by the government, headed by Dmitry Medvedev. In the autumn of 2014, Rosnedra, with a light movement of the pen, postponed the start of development of the Udokan deposit in 2021, and the construction of infrastructure facilities in 2019.
Altushkin, Baisarov and others
Apparently, now the development of Udokan will take Igor Altushkin. This is not an easy person. And it's not just that he's a billionaire, who in February 2017 received from
Vladimir Putin Order of Friendship. Igor Altushkin started his business career in 1995, when he actively participated in the creation of the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company. The very one that "suddenly" lost the contest in 2008 to Metalloinvest. In 2004, the subsidiary of the Russian Copper Company (RMK), which is owned by Igor Altushkin, is separated from UMMC. Most likely it was from the very beginning that it was to become the operator of the Udokan deposit. But instead of trans-Baikal copper RMK got a new partner: in February 2011, 20% were in the hands of Ruslan Baisarov. And Ruslan Baisarov himself - a good friend of the Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov - was on the board of directors of the RMK.
All these movements were explained solely by economic considerations; nevertheless, two years later Ruslan Baisarov also promptly left "Russian copper", selling his stake to the fund Tempest PE Fund 1 from the Canary Islands. About the beneficiaries of this fund is unknown, especially since the traces of the Swiss company Tempest Capital, created to manage this fund, remained exclusively in the archival version of the Internet.
Thus in Udokan even formally there is still some unknown investor, or a group of such. In addition to the option "Rosteha" for 25% of the shares. It is not known from which package this share will be formed. But theoretically, Alisher Usmanov may find himself in the role of a minority investor in a project that he had so hard to get in 2008.
Given how tough the relations between various business groups in Russia are, it can not be ruled out that Dmitry Medvedev was really only the "awesome maneuver" of Aleksey Navalny's latest campaign - convenient for striking and effective to achieve the goal. And the main task is to get the keys to Udokan.
In war as in war
On the morning of May 18, the Lublin court will begin pre-trial preparation for hearings on the suit on protection of honor and dignity of Alisher Usmanov, which requires satisfaction from Alexey Navalny and the Anti-Corruption Fund. Financial claims on this claim are not stated - Usmanov intends to seek from Navalny official refutation. The procedure of pre-trial preparation provides for discussion of the issue of concluding an amicable agreement. But while the option, when Navalny such an apology will bring, looks extremely unlikely. Until now, the foundation of confidence in the oppositionist was based on the truth factor, and any refutation will lead to collapse of the entire structure.
At the same time, the legal capabilities of Usmanov and Navalny are, of course, incomparable. It is all the more interesting, who will defend the interests of a fighter against corruption. Whether it will be a traditional defense in court with the involvement of lawyers, or Aleksei Navalny will start preparing his audience in advance for a loss, it will become clear very soon. But this is only one scenario. There are always military decisions in the reserve. Especially since Iskandar Mahmudov has a colossal experience that has become part of all the methods of raider technology.
From the beginning of the 2000s, Iskander Makhmudov went to new frontiers, declaring himself "a soldier of Putin." And now the hero of the era of the initial accumulation of capital began to trust much more serious assets - for example, the concern "Kalashnikov", whose name speaks for itself. By the way, Makhmudov's partner is the same Rostekh
Sergei Chemezov. And it is quite possible that this configuration suits the latter on Udokan. And Alisher Usmanov in this case will have to make room. It is possible that in a serious geographical sense, given its new tax status.