#5 - JRL 7249
July 15, 2003
PROSECUTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE VERSUS A MEMBER OF "YELTSIN'S FAMILY"
The Prosecutor General's Office finds another target: Oleg Deripaska
Author: Andrei Reut, Oleg Rubnikovich
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
ANDREI ANDREEV CLAIMS THAT HIS BUSINESS WAS CONFISCATED FROM HIM VIA EXTORTION AND THREATS. HIS COMPANIES ARE CURRENTLY OWNED BY SUBSIDIARIES OF OLEG DERIPASKA'S RUSSIAN ALUMINUM. THE PROSECUTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE HAS DECIDED THAT THE PREVIOUS INVESTIGATION WAS NOT "OBJECTIVE", AND RE-OPENED THE CASE.
THE PROSECUTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE HAS RE-OPENED AN OLD CASE. BUSINESS EXECUTIVE ANDREI ANDREEV CLAIMS THAT HIS BUSINESS (ABOUT 100 COMPANIES INCLUDING INGOSSTRAKH, AVTOBANK, AND NOSTA COMPANY) WAS CONFISCATED FROM HIM VIA EXTORTION AND THREATS. THESE COMPANIES ARE CURRENTLY OWNED BY SUBSIDIARIES OF OLEG DERIPASKA'S RUSSIAN ALUMINUM. THE PROSECUTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE HAS DECIDED THAT THE PREVIOUS INVESTIGATION WAS NOT "OBJECTIVE".
ALL THIS MAKES IT CLEAR THAT THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST YUKOS WAS NOT A FAUX PAS. IT WAS AN ELEMENT OF A BROADER CAMPAIGN AGAINST THOSE IN BIG BUSINESS WHO HAD DECLARED THEIR POLITICAL ASPIRATIONS AND WHOSE BUSINESS EMPIRES HAD BEEN BUILT ON USING POLITICAL RESOURCES.
The Prosecutor General's Office is dealing with major companies systematically.
President Vladimir Putin announced last Friday that he dislikes the practice of "arm-twisting" for economic crimes; only days later the Prosecutor General's Office came up with another scandalous initiative. It identified its next target: Oleg Deripaska, Russian Aluminum director and Basic Element CEO - and related to Boris Yeltsin's daughter.
The Prosecutor General's Office is not particularly innovative. It did not issue charges against Deripaska himself, but chose someone fairly close to him.
"On Friday everyone expected the Kremlin to send some sort of signal to put an end to the YUKOS campaign," said Andrei Ryabov, an analyst with the Carnegie Foundation. "The signal was never sent. This Deripaska incident is a chain reaction." Ryabov doesn't think that the order to tackle Deripaska came from the president himself. On the contrary, Putin kept his distance - and that was enough for the Prosecutor General's Office.
Ryabov: Until recently there was a system of mutual recognition of interests at the top, where the president played the role of arbiter. The president failed to play it last Friday. This was generally taken as a signal that anything goes, and old scores may now be settled. Particularly since there are certain security ministers who have some questions for Deripaska.
According to sources within the Prosecutor General's Office, the decision to re-open the case of Andrei Andreev is attributed to the fact that "the previous investigation was not objective, and prosecutors' orders and instructions were ignored. There is some contradicting testimony in the materials. The investigation failed to uncover the source of money used to acquire assets of Ingosstrakh, Ingosstrakh-Rossiya, Avtobank, and NOSTA. Some tests were not taken to their logical conclusion..."
In fact, the scandalous affair of the sale of Ingosstrakh (the largest national insurance company), Avtobank, Orsk-Khalilov Metallurgical Combine (NOSTA), and a dozen less prominent companies surfaced mostly by chance.
Law enforcement agencies found an arsenal (a grenade launcher, automatic rifles, handguns, a machine gun, explosives, and rounds of ammunition) on Stary Gai Street in Moscow on November 7, 2001. (It turned out later that all this belonged to a Krasnoyarsk crime gang.) Among other items, the search of the apartment produced a tape with three men discussing ways of taking over from a certain Andreev. Physical elimination of the businessman was discussed as well.
Detectives soon established Andreev's identity - Andrei Andreev, 45, owner of Ingosstrakh, Avtobank, NOSTA, and dozens of other companies. Andreev, a former official of the 11th Department of the Economic Crime Directorate of the Moscow Municipal Internal Affairs Directorate, had apparently made billions to buy all these companies. Prudently enough, the police did not dwell on exactly how the fortune had been made in the first place. As it turned out, Andreev was a friend of the notorious Alexander Orlov (former assistant to Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo) and Nikolai Klimkin (former head of the Moscow police force).
Detectives met with Andreev and discovered that he had sold his business, worth hundreds of millions, for $90 million to an alliance comprising Basic Element (Deripaska), Millhouse Capital (a structure affiliated with Sibneft), and Nafta-Moskva (Suleiman Kerimov of the Federation Council).
According to the police, chieftain Ibragim Suleimanov was a go- between in the deal. His commission amounted to $6 million.
Talking to Andreev, detectives became convinced that he did not hold the loss of his business against its new owners and did not intend to go to the law enforcement agencies for assistance. Either Andreev was content with the price he got in return, or he feared the underworld that had forced him to sell out in the first place. Even his once-omnipotent friends could not help.
In short, Andreev finally wrote a complaint and the Main Directorate of Investigation of the Moscow Municipal Internal Affairs Directorate instigated criminal proceedings in January 2002.
Andreev identified the voices on the tape. All of them were from Krasnoyarsk gang - Rodion "Radik" Gamzayev, Sergei "Botya" Botev and Yaroslav "Kuzya" Kuznetsov. Andreev said that it had been these three chieftains who forced him to sell out.