The blog of Navalny in English (navalny_en) wrote,
The blog of Navalny in English

How They Siphon At Russian Railways

Everything began with the fur coat storage room belonging to the Head of Russian Railways.

The Foundation for Fighting Corruption were awfully fond of the chief railwayman, Mr Yakunin's elegant villa with its own forest, a fenced river, a few artificial ponds, the 2,000 square metre bathhouse, the room for prayer, and the fur coat storage facility.

It became clear that a family living on such a scale and beyond their means, would surely become subject to our close attention.

The head of the largest socially-oriented state-owned company (and practically a state official) was unable to hide his estate worth $100 million. It's like the ears of a rabbit sticking out of a hat of an awkward illusionist. If he couldn't hide this, what could he manage to hide?

At first we focused on rather interesting field studies of the manor. Have a read, it's amusing

Then we, like everyone else ('Novaya gazeta' daily and the 'Vedomosti'), studied the offshore companies to which the "cunning" railroader re-assigned his property ownership. Initially, the scheme looked like this:

Later, everyone got fed up with poking around into the Yakunin’s complicated offshore schemes.
But not us. Step by step, we figured out the inter-relationships and outlined the scheme. Now it’s hanging above my table and looks like this:

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Frankly speaking, it is a bit too early to publish this stuff as there’s still more research to be done, but there are two important factors:

1. On July 18, the verdict of my case will be announced and the possibility to investigate Mr Yakunin’s business empire will become very limited. The Foundation for Fighting Corruption will take over and I encourage everyone to help them with this work.

2. Obviously, the smart Federal Security Service guys bug our office and take their notes to the office where our railwayman brings his money. There is no other explanation why the scheme started started changing right before our eyes while we were dissecting it. For example, Yakunin’s wife started to rid herself of the companies where she had been registered as a founder. Before I move on to the main narrative, here's an epigraph, to get a better feel for the context, so to speak.

President Vladimir Putin admitted that Russia needs systematic "de-offshoring" of the Russian economy. He said it to the Federal Assmebly. "We need a system of measures to "de-offshore" our economy", - Mr Putin said.

And now check this out:

Feel free to switch back and forth between the two articles. Click: Putin stands for "de-offshoring". Click: the scheme of Yakunin’s family offshore companies.

That's what I had in mind in my last sentence in court when I was talking about the disgusting feudal system in which a few mafia families control 85 per cent of the country's national wealth.


We insist that through corruption and mismanagement, the family of the head of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin, built a huge business empire registered to offshore companies all over the world.
This empire is worth billions of dollars. Yakunin’s family is one of the richest families in Russia and in the world.

It’s a real underground family because they work for the mafia boss: Vladimir Putin who allows them to steal everything they're can get their hands on.

The scheme of Yakunin’s empire is huge and complicated. It’s difficult to comprehend it as a whole, so I singled out a few typical stories to make the reading easier for you.


A chain of hotels located mostly near (SURPRISE!) railway stations in large cities in Russia is an important part of Yakunin’s business empire.

Yakunin's elder son, Andrei Yakunin, is responsible for the foundation and development of the chain.

This is the left part of our super-scheme.

16 companies were specially set up to hide the fact that he owns these assets, part of the shares of each venture is owned in turn by a Cyprus-based company RHC (Regional Hotel Chain Ltd) [...]

At present, the RHC LLC is owned by two other Cyprus-based companies: VERLYS NOMINEES LIMITED and V.R.L. NOMINEES LIMITED. The founder of VERLYS NOMINEES LIMITED is Ms Vera Lyssiotis. She and Renos Lyssiotis are also the founders of V.R.L. NOMINEES LIMITED. Vera is a daughter of Renos and both are Cyprus lawyers.

VERLYS and V.R.L are parent companies of yet another Cyprus-based ANTALON LIMITED Co. Its founder is QUETAR CONSULTANTS Ltd Co. owned by a Swiss lawyer, Irena Braxator.

We congratulate our "railway family" on their excellent HR effort.
Ms Braxator is not only an offshore manager for the likes of Yakunin's mobsters but she is also the author of a book on the fundamental principles of Panama funds operations.

A nice, shall we say, theoretical ground for the upcoming "Putin's de-offshorisation".

In Russia ANTALON LIMITED owns two companies: LLC "Vodoley Properties" and LLC "Solnechnoye Properties". Both are construction companies, both are registered at the same address, and both have the same CEO, Sergey Bashkov.

Sergey Bashkov is (SUDDENLY) also the CEO of Akulinino Co. founded by the Cyprus-based MIROLO INVESTMENTS LIMITED. It’s that very MIROLO to which Vladimir Yakunin filed the ownership of his villa near Moscow. And where his cherished FUR COAT STORE ROOM is located

Statements of the Yakunins with regard to this are almost completely contradictory.

- “In their statement to REUTERS, Russian Railways noted that there is absolutely no business connection between Andrei Yakunin and the state monopoly”.
- “In his interview with REUTERS, Vladimir Yakunin denied his connection with his son’s business”.
- "The first three hotels that we opened in Kazan, Astrakhan, and Izhevsk cities have no relation to Russian Railways”, Andrei Yakunin said. However, at least five new hotels will be opened near the most important railway stations, according to Rezidor agency”.
- As Andrei Yakunin said, his company conducted a "stringent selection" in order to find a real estate consultant in Russia. It happened to be a Russian Railways’ daughter company, Zheldoripoteka [“Railroad mortgage”] (it’s curious that half of the Zheldoripoteka company shares were controlled by Yakunin's partner, Sergey Orlov, who is also a member of the Zheldoripoteka Directors’ Board). It helped the RHC to secure the necessary construction sites, he added.
- "We found several plots of land that we finally acquired with the help of Zheldoripoteka”, Andrei Yakunin said. “The plots are located near railway stations in the largest Russian cities”.
From here.

The revealed scheme shows that the Yakunins are lying.

The House with Lions
"Then on the widest Square of Peter,
Where with his glass a new pile glittered,
Where on its porch, too highly placed,
With their paw raised, as if they’re living,
Stood two marble lions, overseeing."

A.S. Pushkin "The Bronze Horseman",
translated by Yevgeny Bonver

The interest of the hotelier Yakunin is not limited to 15 real estate properties in large Russian cities.

The Administrative Department of the President of Russia allocated a building in Voznesensky Avenue in Moscow for a "long-term lease" on unknown terms to a Tristar Investment Holding private company. A large-scale reconstruction of the landmark dating back to the XIX century was scheduled to be completed a few years ago, and the building itself has now become a part of the Four Seasons hotel chain. The VIY Management Co. owned by Andrei Yakunin successfully secured the investment for the project. In 2008, the Uralsib Bank provided Tristar Co. with a soft loan of US$45 million.

Here is some background on VIY Management. It’s a Russian-based investment company (all of its projects are listed on the website) that is owned by a Cyprus offshore company with the same name which, in turn, is owned by the above-mentioned VERLYS NOMINEES. The company is also present in Great Britain, too. One of its founders is Andrei Yakunin and another one is Sergei Orlov (more on him below). The Conspiracy Theories Dept. of the Foundation for Fighting Corruption insists that VIY stands not for "Venture Investments & Yield Management" but for Vladimir Ivanovich Yakunin.

And now to the Tristar Co. It was founded in 2001 and originally 50% of its shares were owned by Andrei Yakunin (currently, he owns less than 1%). The Tristar CEO is V. V. Sobolevskaya who had previously managed two of the 15 hotels in the Regional Hotel Chain.

But not only this manager connects the "house with lions" with the Yakunin family businesses. Tristar Co. is almost entirely owned by the Cyprus WALIA Ltd, which is owned by VERLYS Nominees Ltd which, as we remember, owns RHC LLC, and it belongs to the family of Cypriot lawyers.

This is Vera Lyssiotis, one of the formal founders of VERLYS Nominees Ltd:


The areas of the Warsaw and Moscow Railway Stations in St. Petersburg

Vladimir Yakunin has one more son, Victor. Victor skillfully combines the position of Head of St.Petersburg Department at his brother’s VIY Managment LLP with the position of Director of Legal Department at Gunvor Group. Victor detailed all this in his CV on the LinkedIn social network and it is still available to the public.

Later, we’ll speak about Victor’s job at Gunvor.

Six months ago, in early 2013, Victor Yakunin decided to become self-employed and he started a Veritas Investments LLC. According to the Official Register of Legal Entities, Victor is CEO of the Veritas Co. and the owner of 1% of its shares while the major shareholders are Cyprus and Panama offshores.

Veritas Investments LLC is registered in St. Petersburg at 20-22 Galernaya St. The LSS Varshavskaya company is registered at the same address, but it may be just a coincidence.

The LSS Varshavskaya LLC was founded by the largest regional development and construction company, the LenSpetsStroy company, specially for the development of the area around the Warsaw railway station. For many years there was much discussion regarding how to develop the area. Governors came and went but it looks like the final decision was very profitable for the LenSpetsStro company. The land owned by Russian Railways was given to LenSpetsStroy Co. in order that a residential complex of 9,000 (!) apartments be built there. According to the Varshavskaya Co. CEO, the company will gradually acquire the rights to the land as the contract with Russian Raiways moves forward..

It seems that this residential cluster is a part of a larger project representing a residential, shopping, administrative and business compound named "Izmailovskaya Perspektiva".

The then Governor of St. Petersburg, Valentina Matvienko [currently Chairman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation] was very impressed by the model of the project:

Meanwhile, LSS Varshavskaya company moved to 20-22 Galernaya St. from its previous location at 19 Morskaya St. One more company was registered in the same street and in the same building – RHC LLC company run by another of Vladimir Yakunin’s sons, Andrei, but that may be a coincidence, too


The name of LSS Varshavskaya company’s CEO is Valentin Chimpoake. He is the manager of yet another development company, the Rosregionproject, registered at the same address at Morskaya Street, with exactly the same contact phone number. By the way, Mr Chimpoake stated that the Rosregionproject and LSS Varshavskaya companies are not connected with one another.

The Rosregionproject got another significant plot of land - the former freight yard of Moscow Freight railway station - 21 hectares that will become a residential complex and a shopping center. Judging from the open sources, it seems that the plot will pass in to the possession of Rosregionproject. In 2008 the company which was founded 3 years before and having no experience at all, declared its intent to invest $1.5 -$2 billion into this project.

Mr Chimpoake actively denied there was any connection between either of the two above-mentioned companies and Andrei Yakunin. In fact, Valentin Chimpoake is disingenuous. According to the historical note of the Russian Register of Legal Entites, in 2006, the Cyprus-based offshore Rosregionproject Ltd. (now it owns 80% of shares of the Russian Rosregionproject LLC) owned Andrei Yakunin's Regional Hotel Chain.

The remaining 20% of the shares of Rosregionproject belong to one more Cyprus office – LONGSOUND INVESTMENTS Ltd, a quarter of which, in turn, is owned by the Investport Holdings Foundation in Lichtenstein. Remember this name and don't forget it until you read the story about the seaport of Ust-Luga.

Another point to add to the list of "random coincidences" is that 55% of the Cyprus’ Rosregionproject company belongs to a Panama offshore company - RHODIA ENTERPRISES Ltd. Panama is a small country and it just so happened that the CEO of RHODIA is also a CEO of DIAMONDROCK Inc. The Diamondrock company owns a house worth 4.5 million pounds at 88 West Heath Road, London. It’s the house which Andrei Yakunin declares as his place of permanent residence.

Isn't it curious though? That a patriot and tireless fighter against Western influence has a son living in London in a house worth 4.5 million pounds.


Now it’s time to tell you about Ust-Luga sea port.

Since 2000 there has been large-scale construction work carried out by a public-private partnership. According to the contract with the Ministry of Transport, which is the government investor, Ust-Luga Company JSC. is the initiator and developer of this work. The company’s website gives very detailed information about its plans to create five interconnected clusters: transport and logistics, industrial, a city-cluster, recreational, and agricultural ones.

In fact, Ust-Luga Company JSC. has a special mission. It brings to life the most cherished dreams and plans of Vladimir Putin who in 1997 dedicated a part of his thesis to the development of this port. He stated that the comprehensive survey of the coast in the Leningrad region showed that there were three places suitable for a new technological port construction, the number one being the mouth of the river Luga.

Now let’s talk about how the Yakunin family brings the President’s dreams to life.

  • Till the end of 2005 Vladimir Yakunin was Chairman of the Directors’ Board of the Ust-Luga Company JSC. However, according to the company’s press-release, “having left his position as Chairman, he did not leave the project” and it also mentioned that “Vladimir Yakunin continues supervising the project on the personal instructions of the President of the Russian Federation”.

  • The son of Vladimir Ivanovich Yakunin, Victor, happened to work at the Ust-Luga project, too. Until 2012, he was listed as a member of the Board of Directors of the Rosneftbunker company, dealing with the construction of an oil terminal in Ust-Luga. The owner of the Rosneftbunker company is a Cyprus-based, offshore Capefar Ltd, which is a part of the Gunvor Group. Now Victor Yakunin’s 7year-long successful career at Gunvor is easy to explain.

  • Vladimir Vasiliev, a co-owner (together with Yakunin-senior) of the company “Real Hunting” is also involved in the construction of the port. His Finprom Engineering company is the contractor of Russian Railways and according to their website, it dealt with the equipment of the Ust-Luga railways.

  • They also found spare room for Mr Orlov, a personal advisor and co-founder of the British VIY Management and PBM Capital (which invests in large non-public Russian companies, mostly affiliated with Russian Railways), the director of which is Mr Orlov. PBM has its share in Ust-Luga Comany JSC, as well as in TLK company which is engaged in the transport and logistic issues of the port construction.

Now we can put aside Mr Putin’s dreams and return to Mr Yakunin’s offshore empire.

Do you remember the Cyprus offsore ROSREGIONPROJECT company that built up the area of Moscow Freight Yard in St.Petersburg? Its owner, a Lichtenstein-based Investport Holding Establishment company has 15% and 23% shares of the Ust-Luga Company JSC and the TLK company, respectively.

That was another mistake made by Valentin Chimpoake, manager of the Rosregionproject company – it looks like there IS an affiliation between his employer and Mr Yakunin.
Let’s make another effort to remember the offshore QUETAR CONSULTANTS LTD company owned by a lawyer and writer who also owns the Cyprus-based ANTALON company, which leads to Mr Yakunin’s villa in Akulinino, near Moscow.

If we open the information memorandum published by the Ust-Luga Company JSC, we’ll immediately see the aforementioned QUETAR company.

Straight from Akulinino to Ust-Luga.

But that’s not the end of the involvement of QUETAR in the port construction. By 2008, it owned 25% of the Universal Loading Complex company dealing with cargo shipment, storage and reception at Ust-Luga sea port. The remaining 75%, and later a share in QUETAR, was bought by the UCL PORT B.V company of Vladimir Lisin, who still owns it.

A walk around Ust-Luga

“A comprehensive survey of the coast”.

And one more meeting (with a bonus added)


All our appeals are in the "Old Chap Yakunin" folder.

What we need from you.
As usual, enter here
Send this appeal.


Let’s go here

And ask our mafia tycoon whether he admits to being a mafia tycoon:

2. Dissemination of Information.
This is the most important thing. We must arrange everything so that in spite of the deathly silence of zombie-boxes, several million people in this country learn of Yakunin’s practices and that Vladimir Putin protects him (unless we witness his resignation and follow-up investigation, of course).

I ask for your help in reposting this information wherever possible.
On blogs, social networks, Twitter, local forums, etc.
E-mail and text it to your friends.
It’ll take you just a few seconds but it’s absolutely important to us.

We’ll publish a special newspaper and disseminate it according to our scheme.

I contacted the Inter-regional Railroad Trade Union, and they will disseminate this information through their networks and newspapers.

After having agitation leaflets printed out we’ll go to railway stations and hand them over to the Russian Railroads staff. First of all to train stewards. They will have much to discuss with passengers on long-distance trains.
And we’ll arrange many other things of this sort.

Advocacy will produce excellent results there. Everyone has actually faced problems with the railways. Anyone who has seen those railway stations, toilet-rooms, slept on damp bed linen and watched tumbledown railway station buildings next to their houses, will be happy to learn about the glittering empire of the billionaire Yakunin’s family.
Join us and stay connected.

As I have already written above, THIS IS ONLY THE SMALLEST PART.
If there is any additional information, please, forward it to

We do welcome the efforts of journalists inquiring into the matter who will start unveiling the pieces of this scheme for further investigation.

In short, folks, go in to fight with the mafia! Everyone can do something helpful to make these guys feel less comfortable in their fur coat storehouses.

Many thanks in advance to everybody who will participate. Nobody should remain indifferent.

We will keep you promptly informed on the development of events.

The Gratitude Section: Many thanks to Georgy Alburov, the Foundation for Fighting Corruption staff member, and to a volunteer who wishes to stay incognito, for their great work. Actually, I can’t imagine how you guys could stay sane and not go mad while investigating this scheme.
Many thanks to Lyuba Sobol for filing the applications.

Update: A greeting card to the old chap Yakunin

Former Railways Minister of China, Liu Zhijun (60), has recently been sentenced to death for corruption and abuse of power. Additionally, he was deprived of political rights for life, and all his property is subject to confiscation.

Originally posted by navalny on  2013-07-16 14:14:00

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