17 JUNE 2019, MONDAY
Story on Two Oligarchs and Security Service Officer Divided and Buried DSK-1
Legendary construction company DSK-1 that for decades had been building almost a half of multi-storey residential housing in Russian capital was stolen from the enterprise shareholder when Vladimir Kopelev managed it and then it was split into small parts and actually went into bankruptcy by Honoured Builder and his immediate surrounding for personal gain.
Then, as per the agreement with Kopelev, the dying company was taken and “finished off” by the owner of DSK-1 billionaire Vladimir Voronin and his infamous patron – Chief of the Moscow and Moscow Province Office of the Federal Security Bureau Colonel-General Aleksey Dorofeev. The latter appears in rather dismal rumours as possible “godfather” of Moscow funeral business. Therefore, the black stars aligned over case with DSK-1.
Slumdog Billionaire. DSK-1 Seizure
Born in 1935, in the village of Luginy of Zhitomir Province of Ukraine Vladimir Yefimovich Kopelev, alias Glukhman Vladimir Yankelevich before 1941, during his work as a manager of DSK-1 managed to accumulate about CHF1 Billion in his personal bank accounts in Geneva and Zurich. After his retirement he purchased blocks of luxury real estate in Europe and America, became an owner of three foreign passports (Greece, St. Kitts, Malta) and two residence permits (Switzerland and Czechia).
The sources of fantastic richness of the DSK-1 Director and his happy transformation from zero to hero are in perfect timing of a few factors: lack of principles and greediness of Mr Kopelev himself, his connections with ex-Mayor Luzhkov and privatisation in 1994-1995.
The story on acquisition of the largest industrial asset commenced when Kopelev headed the company and privatisation was announced. Some 6,250 employees of DSK-1 and the Director himself obtained the shares of the company. A multi-stage plan appeared by early 00s. Honoured Builder decided to become the only owner of the largest construction company in Moscow and one of the richest people in the former Soviet Union.
The main task was to steal, laundry and legalise about 25,048,400 nominal shares of OAO DSK-1 belonging to labour collective and then withdraw the company’s profit, that should have been paid to the shareholders as dividends, to personal accounts.
It is obvious that Kopelev could hardly pull it off by himself. Lawyer Igor Panteleev, Chief Accountant of the company Irina Kuleshova and her husband – Chief of the Material and Technical Supply Complex of DSK-1 Anatoly Kuleshov – Chief Procurement Officer – got into the seizure team. To pull it off they needed over 10 years of hard work, but it was worth it.
In September-October 2002, the rascals convinced the shareholders of Domostroitelny Kombinat No. 1 (DSK-1) to exchange their shares to surrogate papers specially printed for purpose at OAO “Trudovoy Kollektiv” (Director General V.M. Mishin). It was not difficult to wrap inexperienced staff of the complex around the finger. Ordinary workers and foremen were good at building houses, but they understood nothing in securities and financial operations. The Director explained that the shares must be transferred to protect the complex from illegal takeovers, more efficient management of securities and fair payment of dividends. Kopelev’s subordinates, who have been mixing mud together for many years, trusted him as to their own father.
A group of managers of DSK-1 departments, who did not even suspect that they were used without their knowledge, acted as the founder of “Trudovoy Kollektiv”. From this moment on, Kopelev obtained full control over the complex shares and basically took over the controls of the construction giant. In April 2004, pursuant to the instruction of Kopelev, Kuleshov and Panteleev OAO “Trudovoy Kollektiv” transferred the DSK-1 share to OAO “Kommerchesky bank zhilischnogo stroitelstva” (Commercial Bank for Accommodation Construction).
Soon the bank transferred the shares to six companies with very similar names: OOO Zhilinveststroy-2004, Zhilfundamentstroy, Zhilbiznesstroy, Zhilstroyfinans, ZhilDomstroy-2004 and Zhilstroynedvizhimost. A shareholder of one of the companies was registered in the UK. DSK-1 lawyer Panteleev was the liquidator and the only shareholder of three other companies and the shareholder of two others was some Ms Ronzhina.
On 22 April 2005, all the above LLC’s transferred the shares in proportion to the ownership of five nominal natural persons. The following counterfeiters have hypothetically become the owners of fantastic fortune for a short time – A.N. Larin, V.P. Voronov, V.V. Kotov, V.A. Piskunov and V.M. Mishin.
In June 2006, nominal owners – “self-employed persons” – sold the securities of DSK-1 to five unknown companies registered under the control of the same omnipresent lawyer Panteleev (Monolitfinans, Briks, ValleCompany, Biznesstroyinvest, Montazhproekt). Almost immediately, on 19 July 2006, the shareholders of these LLC’s transferred their shares to Zaine Holdings Limited (Director – Borovsky Mikhail), Valle Business Company Ltd (Aleksey Ob’edkov), Wintage Trading Limited (Panteleeva Yulia), Vega Company Ltd. (Russkaya Anastasia), Jertina Holdings Ltd (Yekaterina Markovich) registered on Seychelles.
Final chord of this “fraudulent rhapsody” thundered in 2008. Through the chain of deals the OAO DSK-1 shares miraculously got into the ownership of four clean as Easter egg offshore companies registered in the UK and controlled by V.E. Kopelev and I.B. Panteleev. Kinford Management Limited, Leronika Limited, Tarson Commercial LLP and Tankredo Investments Limited. Such complicated and multi-move scheme was required to carefully cover up the tracks. The plan on assumption, laundering and legalisation of the shares of leading builder in Russia has been played with clockwork precision. Honoured Builder became honoured billionaire. Now he could resign with a feeling of satisfaction at the job well done.
However, there was another small case remaining.
Coveted Prize. Who and How Fleeced 6,250 Complex Workers
In 2008, after the completion of the combination on wringing out DSK-1 from its legal owner – working collective – Kopelev and his helpers decided to digest another coveted prize they put an eye on a long time ago. Quite large profit in excess of 3.5 Billion Roubles accumulated in the accounts of house building complex for years of successful operation that was supposed to be paid to shareholders as dividends. If this amount were divided in equal parts between 6,250 shareholders, who have been earning their money in blood and sweat, each would have received 500,000 Roubles in average. The managers judged that it is easier to divide 3.5 Billion by four and the amount per person is much more pleasing.
The following scheme was employed to resolve the “How to Become a Billionaire” problem. The funds from the DSK-1 account have been withdrawn to some CJSC with optimistic name “DSK-Invest”. Under sham contracts this company transferred the obtained funds to Germelin-Servis CJSC that, in its turn, transferred them to the accounts of “laundries” OOO DipInvest and OOO Shtorm.
Over one Billion Roubles (over USD28 Million at Central Bank exchange rate (35.7) as of the date of transactions) were directly credited via Latvian bank to the accounts of Highlanders Alloys LLC, Mint Data Holdings Limited, Express Times Limited belonging to Mr Kopelev.
Other money hidden from the DSK-1 personnel have been converted by the participants of the scam into hard currency and foreign assets – elite real estate in Switzerland, England, Austria, Spain, USA and other countries. Ordinary lawyer Panteleev and the family of logistics manager-accountant the Kuleshovs taking the most active part in these actions became the owners of blocks abroad where they live high.
How Honoured Builder Decided to Betray Partners for CHF241 Million
Another nailbiting story was developing in parallel that determined further destiny of DSK-1. In 2004, actual at that time owner of the construction complex Vladimir Kopelev sold the enterprise shares to his business partners – Canadian citizen investor Mark Richards and lawyer Kantemir Karamzin – for CHF50 Million.
The deal was closed between Noble Technologies Limited (legal successor – Swiss Kithia Limited). At that time all the three were in close business and personal relations. The partners were implementing joint developing projects both in Russia and abroad. In the immediate circles it was heard a number of times as Kopelev discussed with the partners the future of the building complex under new management. Two Supplemental Agreements to the Agreement dated 25 January 2004 had been drafted and later, after the completion of payments, the Reconciliation Statement dated 7 July 2006 had been prepared.
During the period from 2004 to 2006 the money under this agreement were credited to the account of Kopelev’s Swiss lawyer Martin Buchli. This is proved by the evidences represented by bank documents and Kopelev’s letter dated 26 July 2006 care of the UBS Bank Manager Mr Rene Manser, stating that all these instalments form the buyer’s payment for OAO DSK-1 shares. Pursuant to Kopelev’s instruction Buchli used the money received from the shares sale to buy real estate in Switzerland and shares of Swiss Rotplatten Immobilien AG, Sesvenna Immobilien AG and other as well as lent commercial loans to a number of foreign companies – Homeconstrsct AG, Florian Sprecher AG etc.). Some part of the money Kopelev received have been invested in houses purchased for his civil partner Yelana Titova and put in her bank accounts.
But the buyers have never seen their shares. Kopelev was not rushing to fulfil his obligations and by 2010 the relations between the partners cooled down. On 7 July 2010, the parties have signed the Agreement on the Termination of the Share Sale and Purchase Agreement dated 2004. According to new document Kopelev acknowledged the debt to Noble Technologies Limited totalling CHF241 Million that formed of the assessment of market cost of the construction complex as of that time and the interest for the use of money calculated at average bank rate.
Guarantee Bond signed by the complex owner promised the repayment of the debt with interest in 2016. In the conversation with his lawyer Buchli, the translation of which was made available to ex-partners, the DSK-1 Director confessed that he went towards the termination of the deal and high costs so that not to return the money to Karamzin and Richards. In a few years he intended to sell the DSK-1 shares at much higher price and cover all the costs with usury.
However, the closer the debt repayment date approached, the less the Honoured Builder intended to pay. He worried about preservation of the funds in case of court action and instructed Buchli to develop a scheme to conceal the property from the creditors. By that time Vladimir Yefimovich accumulated fantastic fortune that at a conservative estimate amounted to about CHF1 Billion.
In late November 2016, Buchli recommended to establish a family fund Vladko, where V.E. Kopelev was the only beneficiary. Kopelev. The family in a meeting made the decision on the establishment of the fund so that the creditors had no opportunity to get the money off the Honoured Builder. They concealed Kopelev’s money and all overseas assets in the fund.
Almost all oligarch’s Russian property was registered to OOO Primary and companies in the possession of trusted lawyer Panteleev and controlled nominal persons. According to the data as of October 2018 Primary held Kopelev’s real estate totalling 950 Million Roubles. Apartments in the capital were effected to the company under investment assignment agreement so that they could not be seized in case of bankruptcy.
“Charity Fund for Support of Veterans of Labour “Nadezhda” and Non-commercial Organisation “Regional Fund for Development of Residential Construction “Sozidatel” have been established to cover Kopelev’s current costs in Russia. Both funds were personally controlled by Kopelev. Charity signs and legal form actually optimised taxes and covered all major current costs of the oligarch, his family, numerous servants – salary to security service, cooks, drivers etc.
“Boa’s” Deadly Help
The closer was the hour of repayment of debt to creditors the more actively the oligarch builder was concealing his apartment and large amounts of money around the world. Now it was DSK-1 turn.
According to the audio recording of AO DSK-1 representative – lawyer Khasanov in arbitration sitting at the Moscow Arbitration Court on 1 March 2019 on the case of bankruptcy of Mr Kopelev “From 7 June 2002 till 4 April 2008 Kopelev was the Chief Executive Body of DSK-1 i.e. the Director and since April 2008 till mid summer 2016 he was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of AO DSK-1 and according to the Articles of Incorporation of the Company Kopelev – as the Chairman of the Board of Directors – had extremely wide authorities including the right to cancel any of the actions of the Director General. Actually, the Director General was a nominal figure as Kopelev controlled majority stake of DSK-1 for a long time, he was the Chairman of the Board of Directors and he signed all these deals and, surely, it was his will that billions were withdrawn from the company turnover during that time.”
On 23 June 2016, when the owner of DSK-1 sucked it dry and brought it to pre-bankruptcy, he fictitiously sold the shares of the company to the beneficiaries of OAO FSK Lider – father and son Voronins and their controlled person at understated price in order to hide these shares from the creditors. The deal was closed on behalf of four Kopelev’s offshore companies Kinford Management Limited, Leronika Limited, Tarson Commercial LLP and Tankredo Investments Limited.
Gross profit of just one AO DSK-1 excluding the profit of companies in this holding for 2013-2016 varied from 3.7 to 6.6 Billion Roubles. Net assets of AO Domostroitelny Kombinat No. 1 during the same period amounted to 8.5-10 Billion Roubles. At the same time the Redemption price of the shares under the agreements amounted to 1.5 Billion roubles – dozens of times less than the market price.
Later, when misguided creditors resorted to the court and Kopelev was declared bankrupt, the fact of intentional underestimation of the DSK-1 share was confirmed by Moscow Arbitration Court. In the Decision dated 7 February 2019 on the case No. A40-233539/2018-38-31 «F» the court came to the conclusion that Kopelev used his controlled companies “for illegal withdrawal of the assets of the debtor in order to conceal the property of the debtor by dishonest use of the institution of legal entity.”
In order to cover the tracks the Honoured Builder – prior to his bankruptcy – removed all his English companies from the register, but he did not inform the court and his financial manager about the money left after the liquidation of these companies. Interestingly enough that liquidated companies had accounts receivable for the amount comparable with the price the shares were sold at, that. in its turn, evidenced on the fact that the buyers did not pay for sold shares. These circumstances have been confirmed by the Decision of the Ninth Arbitration Court dated 15 April 2019 on the same case.
There is no hope left that the “dirty rotten scoundrels” return at least one kopeck of the DSK-1 funds to its legal owners – ordinary workers or betrayed business partners.
By effecting this deal Kopelev killed a few birds with one stone: he gracefully betrayed the creditors by forgiving them CHF241 Million, concealed Voronin’s hands and destroyed the complex with his hands so that on its place to earn together with Voronin and his hew partners from FSS USD300 Million, and pretend he (Mr Kopelev) has nothing to do with the liquidation of the company.
For public, his compatriot citizen of Malta Voronin presented the deal as the operation to rescue the oldest enterprise that FSK Lider offered a helping hand to. “When it was clear that DSK-1 got into complicated financial situation and was not able to service the accounts payable we started working on the procurement of the complex, surely under the condition of its rehabilitation and further development. Today’s economical situation is difficult, but from the other side new opportunities appear during crises”, – the Lider owner was telling fairy tales in the interview “DSK-1 Shall Live” dated 8 September 2016 published on his web-site (https://fsk-lider.ru/press/smi/read/125775/).
In reality, FSK Lider was swallowing and digesting the competitor as a boa in the interest of his owners and DSK-1 had not long to live. The building complex was “optimised” – it was split into five small companies. According to records in EGRYuL (Uniform State Register of Legal Entities) a conclusion can be made that in June 2018 the Joint-stock company Domostroitelny Kombinat No. 1 was reorganised by demerging other legal entities: New-City LLC, Line-City LLC, DSK-1-Rostokino LLC, DSK-1-Tushino LLC, Good-City LLC.
A few thousand employees were kicked out and on vacant areas appearing after the liquidation of DSK-1 a new development project with estimated profit about USD300 Million was planned.
The “FSS Boutique” Takes the Matter Up
What FSS has to do with it? After all Richards and Karamzin filed legal action against the cheater Kopelev and won the case as a result of hard fought war.
The Arbitration Court acknowledged Kopelev insolvent under the Kithia’s claim and a bankruptcy procedure with collection of property to repay the debt commenced.
However, the Chief of the Moscow Office of the Federal Security Bureau Colonel-General Aleksey Dorofeev and his subordinate – Chief of the Department “M” Colonel Sergey Natarov stepped in, when the court seized the DSK-1 shares and Voronin’s interests could have been affected. This is the place – according to mass media – where well known in Moscow “FSS Boutique” operates, the place where a criminal case against a competitor can be ordered for very big money. Karamzin’s head was estimated in USD10 Million. As a result of the involvement of the “business men with shoulder boards” the lawyer quickly got into jail on the charge of fraud that “gave the FSK all chances to preserve DSK-1.”
There are two versions of the Federal Security Bureau officers’ intervention into the construction case. According to one of them, the clients paid in the “boutique” USD10 Million for elimination of Karamzin and collapse of the 15 Billion Roubles case. According to another version the high-ranking officers were not just fulfilling the order, but were in the case and protecting their own assets.
Allegedly Dorofeev at the stage of deal with Lider invested his own money into procurement of DSK-1 share and this was done via security officers-controlled Rosselkhozbank. The arrest of the lawyer Karamzin, escape of his partner Richards from Russia and subsequent winnings of Mr Kopelev in the Arbitration Court are explained with the threat to extremely serious business interests of almighty General.
This is a sad end of legendary House Building Complex.
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