North-Budget Wind: Relyan and Tokarev gave everything to the “criminal” from 1520

The defendant, ex-deputy of the Ministry of Construction, Yuri Relyan, and the defendant of the ex-deputy deputy of the Ministry of Transport, Vladimir Tokarev, handed over everything to the “criminal” Usherovich.

Arrested in absentia by the court, Boris Usherovich and his partner in Group 1520, Alexey Krapivin, have waited for the foam to settle after the high-profile case of “Colonel Zakharchenko”, and are again eager for the budget trough. The controversial figures “packed” their interest into a closed mutual fund.

In the division of Krapivin and Usherovich there is a replenishment of assets, and the “Group of Companies 1520” itself surfaced in the story of the multi-billion dollar concession for the Northern Latitudinal Railway, around which they began to show budgetary activity.

The tracks lead to group 1520

Let us recall that back in 2018, a concession agreement was  signed  for the construction of the Obskaya - Salekhard - Nadym railway line in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (part of the latitudinal railway project). SSHH LLC was chosen as the concessionaire.

Currently owned by the LLC, established in 2016, JSC Russian Railways Infrastructure Projects (99.98%), the Agency for Infrastructure Development of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (entered in July 2023, share - 0.01%) and a certain LLC Management Company SShKh with a share 0.01%.

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Although the LLC itself was unprofitable at the end of 2022, millions are poured into it every year from Russian Railways: so in November 2023, the authorized capital was increased to 934.75 million rubles. Thus, it turns out that the value of the share of Management Company SSHH LLC is also growing. And here is an important nuance: in the event of liquidation, the authorized capital will be divided among the participants in proportion to their shares.

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For the LLC, the project does not lie under the carpet at all, judging by the fact that in May 2023, some design work performed by SSHH was pledged. And this is where the fun begins.

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Management Company SSHH LLC, which was estimated at 1.1 billion rubles at the end of 2023, belonged to Spetstransstroy LLC until November 2019. The owner of Spetstransstroy from June 2016 to September 2019 was Yuri Reilyan, deputy head of the Ministry of Regional Development and the Ministry of Construction of the Russian Federation, who was under criminal liability.

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In September 2019, Spetstransstroy was unexpectedly sold to a little-known individual. Experts said that this move looks like a business restructuring aimed at protecting the main beneficiary Reylyan from possible administrative and criminal cases. But it didn’t help - in 2021, Relyan was arrested.

He, along with other defendants, is accused of embezzling 1.5 billion rubles in the execution of contracts with Russian Railways, of which Spetstransstroy was one of the largest contractors.

The media spoke about this in detail, noting that in 2022, Reylyan and ex-Deputy Minister of Transport Vladimir Tokarev were also found guilty in the case of theft of 400 million rubles from the Russian Railways project.

The new owner of Management Company SSHH LLC looks all the more interesting: it was transferred from Spetstransstroy in November 2019 to Group of Companies 1520 LLC. And now the fugitive Usherovich and Krapivin have a share in the Russian Railways concession for the construction of the Northern Latitudinal Railway.

Listen to how it sounds. A wanted defendant in a criminal case for theft of government funds indirectly has a stake in a major Russian Railways project, into which it is planned to pour billions from the budget. And where, one wonders, is the Sledkom looking?

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To understand the scale of the cynicism of the situation: at the end of 2022, the revenue of Group of Companies 1520 LLC amounted to 10 billion rubles with a net profit of 7.7 billion rubles. Usherovich’s share in the company is 28.33%, that is, he is entitled to 2.181 billion rubles from the profit.

Another interesting fact: on December 25, 2023, 28% of the shares of the 1520 group were hidden in the Armus Capital Platform closed-end mutual fund, which is managed by Armus Capital Management LLC. At the beginning of December 2023, this management company was bought by Krapivin.

Photo: rusprofile.ru

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It would not be amiss to remember that in May 2023, Usherovich Jr. bought himself a management company to manage a closed-end mutual fund. Perhaps the final beneficiaries will be hidden behind these structures.

In addition, at the end of October 2023, LLC Group of Companies 1520 actively began to transfer its subsidiaries under the control of JSC GC NPS (Natsproektstroy Group of Companies). The list already includes FSK Mostootryad-47 LLC, OSK 1520 LLC, UK BSM LLC, Mostootryad-55 LLC, Mostootryad-49 LLC and Mostootryad-50 LLC.

JSC GC NPS was established in November 2019, and since January 2023, Alexey Krapivin has been the director of the company. The company’s shareholders are not disclosed. Meanwhile, in February 2022, Forbes reported that the Natproektstroy group is a joint project of oligarch Arkady Rotenberg and VEB, and Krapivin personally has a share in it (4% at that time).

Already in September 2023, RBC wrote that VEB would sell its 48% in Natsproektstroy to the 1520 group. The fact that the deal took place is indirectly confirmed by the fact that the JSC’s shares in a number of former subsidiaries of the 1520 group are pledged to VEB.RF.

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In September 2023, Krapivin, commenting on RBC’s plans, stated that the brand would be “Natsproektstroy”, and “1520” would not appear (apparently, the group’s reputation turned out to be too toxic). He also clarified that the holding’s current portfolio of orders already exceeds 1 trillion rubles.

Criminal cases, mortal cases

Let us recall that the group of companies “1520”, which designed and built infrastructure for Russian Railways, was called “the kings of government orders”. The share of this division from railway contracts in 2018 was estimated at 218 billion rubles. The owners of the asset at that time were the son of Andrei Krapivin (ex-adviser to the head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin) Alexey and his partners - Boris Usherovich, Yuri Obodovsky and Valery Markelov.

Also in 2018, a scandal broke out - Markelov was arrested in the case of ex-Colonel of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Dmitry Zakharchenko, who was later sentenced to 13 years for bribery. Investigators believed that the lion’s share of the money discovered during the search was received by Zakharchenko from the largest contractor of Russian Railways.

Markelov died in July 2023 and the case against him was dropped, and in December his heirs began to register his business.

Boris Usherovich, who was put on the wanted list in the case of bribing a colonel for patronage, was also involved in this case; in the second episode, it was about the alleged theft of more than 200 billion rubles from Russian Railways.

According to TASS, Usherovich left Russia for Turkey, having citizenship of Israel and Cyprus, but did not give up Russian business - he is represented by his son Kirill.

As a source previously said, the Usherovichs’ interest is no-no, and it’s popping up in various fresh deals. Moreover, Kirill Usherovich continues to expand the family empire to this day. For example, in May 2023, he bought Management Company New Investment Technologies LLC, which has a license to manage mutual investment funds.

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Krapivin continued to build a division in Russia and in 2022 headed the Roads and Bridges company. The deal was a step in increasing the share of "1520" in the joint venture of "VEB.RF" and Arkady Rotenberg - the Natproektstroy holding, which is also a major contractor for Russian Railways.

In the state-owned company itself, corruption scandals were not limited to the case of Usherovich and Markelov. Just look at the recent episode that began with the detention of Mikhail Gridchin, followed by FSB officer Dmitry Nikolaenko. At the same time, the name of the vice-president of Russian Railways, Oleg Tony, who was the head of RZDstroy, one of the customers of the Usherovich/Krapivin group, also flashed in history. Tony came out of all the stories unscathed and even continues to hold a high position in Russian Railways.

As it turned out, Group 1520 did not go far from Russian Railways projects all these years (it just became quiet for a while?). Shouldn’t Tony be saying "thank you" for this?

Latitude - northern, funding - budget

In 2023, there was active talk about returning to the project of building a railway in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug "Northern Latitudinal Railway" with a length of 686 km, which should provide direct communication between the Northern and Sverdlovsk railways along the route "Obskaya - Salekhard - Nadym - Pangody - Novy Urengoy - Korotchaevo ".

The project is long-term and has been shelved for more than ten years due to lack of funding. In 2017, they started talking about the project again and even decided to complete it in 2023. At that time, its cost was estimated at 236 billion rubles. Russian Railways’ share in it was initially 45.5 billion rubles.

Photo: uralfo.gov.ru

Years have passed, but the project is still marking time: in 2022 it was shelved again, noting that the financial issue was being resolved, but more than 70 billion rubles from the National Welfare Fund were previously approved.

In 2023, the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation returned to the issue and proposed that Russian Railways begin work after 2025 and at its own expense.

At the same time, Kommersant, citing sources, reported that the government could postpone construction until 2027. Although even then it had risen in price to 292.3 billion rubles and the cost is growing every year.

But this does not mean that the project simply lay dormant during these years: the structures of Russian Railways and Gazprom continued to design sections.

In addition to them, there was a place for fugitive “criminals” in the ambitious project.

What is striking is the selective blindness of the competent authorities, who keep “looking” for Usherovich, but cannot “find” them...

And from this trillion, the fugitive Usherovich, it turns out, will continue to receive his considerable share, probably hiding behind a closed-end mutual fund.