On Wednesday afternoon, April 11, operatives of the Department for Economic Security and Anti-Corruption of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of St. Petersburg and Leningrad region searched the cottage of the financier Vladimir Antonov, the founder of Converse Group, who was detained earlier in the village of Nikolina Gora in the Moscow region, a source in the central office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs told RBC. The information on searches was confirmed by the interlocutor familiar with a course of investigation.
According to the source of RBC, who is familiar with the course of the investigation, the investigators are working in the framework of the criminal case, which was instituted under Article 159 of the Criminal Code of Russia (fraud) in 2016 by the Main Investigation Department of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for St. Petersburg. As later explained in the Interior Ministry, it is a question of theft of funds from the bank "Soviet".
"During the searches in the cottage, owned by the mother of a businessman, seized documents relevant to the case, as well as electronic media. On Thursday morning, Antonov was taken to Pulkovo airport in St. Petersburg, "- said the source RBC.
"Group of bankers"
The official press-center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which arrived in RBC, says that a large businessman, an "accomplice of a group of bankers", suspected of stealing money from a credit institution, was detained.
"Employees of the Main Directorate for Economic Security and Combating Corruption of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia jointly with UEBiPK GU of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region during the operational support of the criminal case initiated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region under art. 159 (fraud committed in a particularly large amount) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation in connection with the theft of monetary assets of a commercial bank, a large businessman was detained, "the agency reported.
In the message of the Ministry of Internal Affairs it is noted that in 2015 the former leaders of the mentioned bank issued a deliberately non-repayable loan in the amount of 150 million rubles. Who was given a loan - not specified. The money, as they say in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, was withdrawn through the organizations controlled by the "specified entrepreneur" and "subsequently kidnapped".
Later, the official representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Irina Volk, confirmed to RBC that it was Antonov. Sources RBC say that in addition to Antonov in the case of several figurants, without revealing the details. "While the names of the alleged participants are not disclosed in the interests of the investigation," said one of the interlocutors of RBC.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Antonov was detained by police officers with the support of the soldiers of Rosgvardia. In addition, in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Leningrad and Chelyabinsk regions, more than 20 searches were carried out in residential and office buildings, which were used by the defendants of the case, the police say. "Items and documents, electronic keys of the" bank-client "system, seals of legal entities, electronic and paper information carriers, draft documentation and other items confirming the illegal activities of the persons involved were confiscated," the Wolf clarified. Operational and investigative actions on this case will be continued, she says.
Statement from the "Soviet"
"The law enforcement agencies asked the employees of the bank" Soviet ", who asked to investigate the theft of funds," - told RBC another source familiar with the materials of the criminal case.
Founded in 1990, "Soviet" is in the top 200 Russian banks in terms of assets. Since October 2015, it introduced an interim administration, in autumn 2016, the Central Bank announced that the sanatorium of the bank would be Tatfondbank. However, the latter was revoked a license, and the Central Bank in February 2017 reintroduced the temporary administration in the person of the DIA to the Sovetskiy bank. In February 2018, the Central Bank ordered the rehabilitation of the bank Sovietskiy to the Fund for the Consolidation of the Banking Sector.
RBC sent inquiries to the DIA and the Central Bank.
According to the source of the case, "the unidentified persons with the aim of stealing bank property colluded with the management of the companies or became their co-owners and carried out a number of transactions, as a result of which the liquid assets of banks were replaced by illiquid ones." The money was transferred to the accounts of their companies, the source added.
According to one version of the investigation, the defendants of the case formed a portfolio of securities, which in fact was not of great value, says a RBC source familiar with the course of the investigation. "Then they estimated this portfolio at several billion rubles and sold it to the bank. On the money withdrawn to their companies scheme participants bought securities, "- added the source of RBC.
As Svetlana Tarnopolskaya, a lawyer from Yukov & Partners, notes, the issue of a non-repayable loan is the most common type of fraud in the banking sector. This scheme at first glance looks quite legal and without serious verification of the "quality" of the borrower it can not be identified, she notes. "As a result, while someone does not deal with this issue closely, for example, the interim administration, this scheme may not come up.
And ten more banks
According to the interlocutor of RBC, who is familiar with the course of the investigation, it is assumed that the scheme with replacement of liquid assets of banks by illiquid persons involved cases in at least ten banks. "Antonov is being checked for involvement in embezzlement related to Baikal Bank, the Russian International Bank. In particular, the investigation considers Antonov's joint activity with Grigory Hovhannisyan in AK Bank, "the source said, familiar with the course of the investigation.
Now the Baikal Bank (Ulan-Ude), the Russian International Bank and the AK Bank have their licenses revoked, they are under the administration of the provisional administrations. Baikalbank lost its license in August 2016 due to the failure to comply with capital adequacy standards, the Russian International Bank and AK Bank in September 2017 and March 2018, respectively, for violations of the law on combating the laundering of proceeds from crime. Several criminal cases were initiated within the liquidation procedures of Baikalbank, including intentional bankruptcy, theft of property and precious metals from the bank.
In the 2000s, Vladimir Antonov controlled a number of Russian banks, in 2004, Convers Group was established to manage its assets. In particular, Antonov was a co-owner of Investbank. In 2011, he sold a stake in it to partner Sergei Mendeleyev, in 2013 the bank lost its license. The Deposit Insurance Agency estimated the 44 billion ruble gap at Investbank. Another major asset Antonov in Russia was engaged in laying communication lines in the regions of the concern "Svyazstroy."
In the middle of zero, most of Antonov's assets were concentrated abroad. In particular, he lived in the Baltic States for a long time, and then, when the claims of the Lithuanian prosecutor's office came to him, he moved to London.
In August 2017 Vedomosti wrote that Vladimir Antonov returned to business and created a new banking group in Russia. According to the interlocutors of the publication, Antonov controls the bank "Russian Investment Alliance" (Riabank), and his agents planned to purchase the Russian International Bank (RMB). Representatives of these banks then denied the connection with Antonov. Two weeks after the publication of the article, the Central Bank revoked the license from Riabank.
At the end of March 2018, the Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office sent a request to the Prosecutor General's Office of Russia for legal assistance in the investigation of the case against owners of Snoras Bank ("Snoras") Raimondas Baranauskas and Vladimir Antonov. Vilnius asked to interview them and bring them accusations of the Lithuanian side. On the arrest of Antonov and Baranauskas was issued a European warrant.
A financier with broad interests
Vladimir Antonov and his partners owned the British football club Portsmouth and North One Sport, the global promoter of the World Rally Championship, as well as a number of other sports assets around the world. Antonov's structures owned a stake in the media concern Lietuvos rytas, a controlling stake in the Latvian publishing house Telegraf and AirBaltic.
In addition, Antonov owned the English manufacturer of sports off-road vehicles Bowler and 29.9% in the sports car manufacturer Spyker Cars N.V.
For a long time, Antonov tried to buy the Swedish automaker Saab, and as a result, it was acquired by Spyker. For this, the banker had to withdraw from the company's shareholders, but through the related structures the entrepreneur continued to control the Dutch company and bought for $ 74 million Saab, which in December 2011 was declared bankrupt, as Vedomosti wrote. In December 2014, Spyker was declared bankrupt. According to Antonov, he invested more than $ 100 million in the company.