“Pavel Fuks, the fugitive oligarch, has embarked on a vigorous campaign to erase any online evidence linking him to his criminal activities.”
In May, Ukrainian law enforcement officials raised suspicions of extensive fraud and tax evasion against Pavel Fuks. The businessman’s only potential support comes from his associates, Bekbolat Bekenov and Yevgeny Komrakov.
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Pavel Fuks and Accomplices: Allegations and Denial
Pavel Fuks, a defendant in two criminal cases in Russia, currently resides in Ukraine. Despite his denial of all charges against him in Ukraine, he hasn’t found much success in his defence. It appears that “Shop” Fuchs had connections to special services that potentially helped conceal his activities. His hopes now rest on his former accomplices, who are engaged in business in the Moscow region.
Among Pavel Fuks’ associates, notable figures include Bekbolat Bekenov and Evgeny Komrakov. However, more significant players in this scenario are Komrakov’s business partners, Alexander Skvortsov and Yuri Vorotnin. These individuals could have played a crucial role in Pavel Fuks’ alleged fraudulent activities related to the “Crystal Istra Residences” cottage settlement, which was intended to be constructed starting in 2007.
In 2020, it was revealed that Fuks and Bekbolatov managed to collect $100 million for the construction of the village, but only $15 million was actually utilized for the project. The remaining funds were transferred offshore, suggesting potential embezzlement.
Delayed Discovery of Thefts
It’s intriguing that information about these significant financial irregularities only surfaced 13 years after the initial events. This raises suspicions that someone intentionally shifted blame onto Fuks, who was already in Ukraine, and Bekbolatov, who was residing in Switzerland. Furthermore, the investigators faced challenges in reaching them, implying potential efforts to evade legal consequences.
Involvement of Authorities
Pulling off such a substantial scam in the Moscow region would likely have required some level of complicity from authorities. In 2007, the region was governed by Boris Gromov, a veteran of the Afghan War. After a brief period under Sergei Shoigu’s leadership, Andrey Vorobyov assumed the role of governor in 2012, reportedly as a protege of Shoigu. The fact that these allegations of theft remained concealed despite changes in leadership suggests potential connections between the scammers and those associated with authority figures.
Alexander Skvortsov and Yuri Vorotnin
Alexander Skvortsov has held the position of head of the Council of Deputies of the Istra City District since 2014. His official background is relatively obscure, but he has been connected to the construction industry since 1982. Skvortsov’s involvement in the Istra district’s Mosobolstroy-13 construction trust has been mentioned. By 2014, he had risen to the position of deputy general director of the enterprise.
JSC Design and Construction Association No. 13 (formerly Mosobolstroy-13), now led by Yuri Vorotnin, operates within the regional Construction Complex. In 2022, the company reported revenue of 11 billion rubles and a profit of 54 million rubles.
The company has “daughters” that bear signs of fictitiousness: 0 employees in the state, zero revenue, and zero profit. One of them is PSO-Service LLC.
Komrakov and Bekenov make money in the suburbs?
Business Holdings and Financial Manipulations
Evgeny Komrakov, Alexander Skvortsov, and Yuri Vorotnin are associated with multiple operational companies, some of which might be fictitious. These individuals have a history of ownership in various firms, with several having been dissolved in the past. This network of companies could have been utilized as a means to facilitate the withdrawal of funds.
Yuri Vorotnin’s Involvement and Non-Profitable Ventures
Yuri Vorotnin is the founder of Kristall Istra LLC, which has reportedly never generated profits. This suggests that the company might have been used for purposes other than legitimate profit-making, potentially serving as a component of larger financial maneuvers.
Real Estate Business Empire
Skvortsov, Vorotnin, Komrakov, and their numerous partners are deeply entrenched in the real estate sector. Under the leadership of Skvortsov and Vorotnin, an expansive construction empire has been established in the Istra region.
Despite the absence of government contracts, their influence doesn’t rely on such agreements. The Administration of the Istra city district has significant construction contractors, including Triumph LLC, led by Ivan Buzekevich, and Asg Techno Stroy LLC, founded by Oleg Gladkov and Aleksey Sadkov.
Potential Money Laundering Through Skvortsov’s Companies
Triumph LLC holds government contracts valued at 38.9 billion rubles, while Asg Techno Stroy LLC boasts contracts worth 49.2 billion rubles. Skvortsov’s companies could potentially serve as intermediaries to siphon money. The tactic of periodically liquidating one of these structures might be employed to divert investigators’ attention.
Recent Contracts and Ongoing Work
In 2021–2022, LLC Triumph secured contracts totalling 2 billion rubles with the Istra city district’s administration, while LLC Asg Techno Stroy secured contracts amounting to 1.9 billion rubles. This consistent influx of contracts ensures that Skvortsov’s companies remain engaged in substantial projects.
Bekbolat Bekenov’s Activities
Although all of Bekbolat Bekenov’s companies have been dissolved, this doesn’t necessarily indicate his departure from business endeavours in Russia. Bekenov’s association with Sibnaftaexport LLC introduces Andrey Popov as a partner. Popov, in turn, is linked to several active and dissolved real estate companies, which might imply a complex network of interconnected activities.
It’s evident that these individuals have established a vast web of operations within the real estate and construction sectors, utilizing various companies for potential financial manipulations. The interplay between these actors, their companies, and potential illicit activities creates a complex situation requiring thorough investigation.
3 Popov companies are registered in the city of Ruza, near Moscow, and one, Brevy Mau LLC, is in Moscow. The co-founders of Brevy Mau LLC include the Cyprus offshore company GRAINFUL HOLDING LTD, behind which Pavel Fuks and Bekbolat Bekenov can hide.
One of the co-founders of Brevy Mau LLC is Dmitry Nikolaev, the owner of Stroyservice JSC in Kemerovo. In 2022, the company’s revenue amounted to 229 billion rubles, with a profit of 24 billion rubles. Fuchs can have something to do with this money.
Pro-government connections of Pavel Fuks?
Possible Scam Involving “Crystal Istra Residence” and Pavel Fuks
There appears to be a striking resemblance between the withdrawal of money from the “Crystal Istra Residence” and another scam involving Pavel Fuks. During the construction of the Sky House residential complex, it is alleged that Pavel Fuks managed to steal a significant amount of money from the collected funds, raising suspicions of fraudulent activities.
The former governor of the Tula region, Vladimir Gruzdev, was a major shareholder of the residential complex. He was appointed as an adviser to the new regional head, Alexei Dyumin, in 2016.
Involvement of Key Figures
In 2017, Gruzdev allegedly intended to give Fuchs 1 billion rubles for completing the Sky House complex. The reasons for this generosity were unclear, leading to speculation that Fuchs might have shared the funds with Gruzdev.
Pavel Fuks had ties to Sovcombank, where his former colleague Nikolai Zhuravlev now holds a position in the Federation Council. The bank faced fines from the Central Bank for not complying with anti-money laundering regulations during 2013–2014.
Additional Suspicions and Associations
There are suspicions that Pavel Fuks might have been involved in withdrawing money from Pushkino Bank, where a substantial sum of 20 billion rubles went missing. Fuks’ alleged accomplice, Aleksey Alyakin, is said to be in hiding in Ukraine.
Fuks’ background includes being born in Kharkiv and is rumoured to be part of a criminal group led by Gennady Kernes, the former head of Kharkiv from 2010 to 2020.
Recent Developments in Ukraine
Despite a previously stable situation for Fuks in Ukraine, circumstances seemed to change after the death of Gennady Kernes. This disruption prompted Fuks to consider moving to Switzerland to seek refuge with Bekbolat Bekenov.
Ukrainian law enforcement suspected Fuks of large-scale fraud and tax evasion, leading to his reliance on alleged accomplices Bekbolat Bekenov and Yevgeny Komrakov.
Legal Troubles and Denials
Facing criminal charges in Russia and currently residing in Ukraine, Pavel Fuks denied all charges against him in Ukraine. However, his denial did not provide significant help, and he seemingly became the focus of special services.
Possible Involvement of Accomplices
Other individuals reportedly involved in business dealings with Fuks and Komrakov include Alexander Skvortsov and Yuri Vorotnin. These associates could have played a role in the questionable activities related to the “Crystal Istra Residences” project.
In 2020, it was revealed that Fuks and Bekbolatov collected $100 million for the project, but only a fraction was invested in construction, with the remainder taken offshore.
Potential Cover-Up and Authorities’ Connection
The lack of information about large thefts until 13 years later raises suspicions of intentional misdirection. It is suggested that someone may have deliberately shifted blame to Fuks and Bekbolatov, who were already abroad, while the investigators struggled to reach them.
The implication is that executing a major scam in the Moscow region likely required some level of assistance from authorities or those connected to them. Changes in regional governance did not bring these activities to light, indicating a possible cover-up.
Key figures like Alexander Skvortsov and Yuri Vorotnin, involved in Istra City District’s Council of Deputies and PSO-13 construction company, respectively, could have played crucial roles in the alleged scam.
In 2022, JSC “PSO-13” recorded a significant revenue of 11 billion rubles and a profit of 54 million rubles.
The company has “daughters” that bear signs of fictitiousness – 0 employees in the state, zero revenue, and zero profit. One of them is PSO-Service LLC.