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Statements made by Alexey Dobrynin to the article ‘The Mansion Was Lost During the Investigation’. Novy Prospekt, 28 November 2018

One of the defendants in the criminal case of embezzlement in the construction of a presidential residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, with a Saint Petersburg billionaire Dmitry Mikhalchenko named, made a plea agreement. For this, he donated a mansion to the value of 100 million rubles.

As it became known to the Novy Prospekt, the person involved in the theft of 1.5 billion rubles at the construction site of the presidential residence Stanislav Kyuner sold his country land plot together with a cottage, priced at about 100 million rubles. It turned out that Kyuner’s real property, unlike other defendants in the case, was not seized for legal reasons.

Country club

Stanislav Kyuner, former Director General of ZAO Stroyfasad (part of the Baltstroy holding owned by the disgraced Petersburg billionaire Dmitry Mikhalchenko) has been in custody since March 21, 2017 as accused in the case of major embezzlement in the construction of Vladimir Putin’s residence in Novo-Ogarevo (see the information). Six other defendants are named in the case, among whom Dmitry Mikhalchenko in his own person. The damage caused to the treasury by embezzlement is estimated at 1.5 billion rubles, as Sergei Novikov, a senior investigator of major cases under the chairman of the investigative committee of the Russian Federation, reported to the judge of the Moscow City Court, when the question of extending the preventive measure for the accused was considered.

A source familiar to the family of Stanislav Kyuner told the New Prospekt that the latter managed to do what his alleged accomplices failed to do, i.e. to sell his property in the elite cottage village Country Club-2 in the Moscow region, namely, two plots with a total area of 2.7 thousand square meters, as well as the main and guest houses with a total area of almost 1 thousand square meters. Extracts from the Unified State Register of Real Property, ordered by the NP have supported this information.

The interlocutor of the NP said that, to his knowledge, this property complex costs at least 100 million rubles. The guest house accommodates a fitness room with a sauna, a steam room, a pool and a plunge tub, rest rooms and a kitchen, and in one of the rooms there is a full-fledged cinema hall for two dozen persons. Houses and grounds in the village are sold an average of 30 million rubles, estimated at the agency Becar.

According to extracts from the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadaster and Cartography, the first transaction made on March 31, 2017 resulted in the transfer of Stanislav Kyuner’s property to Olga Deryabina, and in April 2018, a resale transaction was concluded, and the real estate was transferred to the ownership of her friend Svetlana Bort, the former spouse of Mikhail Tevelev Saint Petersburg restaurateur and founder of the Food Retail Group (‘Two sticks’, ‘Frikadelki’ and ‘Marcellis’ chains).

Yuliya Pasova, ex-wife of Stanislav Kyuner, who is one of the claimants in the Novo-Ogaryovo case and cooperates with the investigation told the NP that Svetlana Bort is an old bosom friend of the family. ‘Sveta has been never engaged in business, nor she has ever had large incomes. I doubt that she could afford such a purchase, and if she could, then why should she have a house in the Moscow region? After all, after the divorce, she and her children constantly live in Saint Petersburg,’ Pasova is puzzled.

Seizure is a Delicate Matter

The correspondent of the Novy Prospekt sent questions to Svetlana Bort and Olga Deryabina through their accounts on Facebook. There were no answers. Earlier, the property of the defendants in the Novo-Ogaryovo case was reported to have been seized. For example, all 7 real estate objects in the Leningrad and Moscow regions, owned by the Director of the FSUE Ateks of the Federal Guard Service (FSO) Andrei Kaminov, were seized.

According to criminal law experts interviewed by the Novy Prospekt, seizure of defendants’ assets with such a scale of embezzlement is a common practice, while no seizure is non-typical at all.

Often, even an asset registered in favor of a relative of the accused cannot be taken out of seizure, and Kaloy Ahilgov, a lawyer and expert in criminal cases associated with economic and official crimes, noted that the property that is directly owned by the person involved always never can be released from encumbrances. ‘Definitely, this is the result of any transaction, for example, testimony in relation to another person involved, a high-ranking official,’ the expert noted. He believes that now we should expect high-profile arrests in the case or a quick review in a special order.

If the accused pleads guilty and makes a plea deal, the investigator can officially remove an attachment from the property for only one purpose: to make up for the damage through the sale of this property, explains Alexey Dobrynin, a partner at the Pen & Paper Attorneys-at-Law. In the event of a sale in some other, personal purposes, the property is to be seized again, even if the property has had a new owner.

The interlocutor of the New Prospekt from a law enforcement agency, familiar with the investigation procedure, confirmed that the encumbrance was released as part of the informal agreements reached in the transaction of the defendant with the investigation.’ The interlocutor refused to specify the consideration the defendant provided within the scope of these agreements.

Representatives of the Basmanny court, where the case is being heard, reported that the Kyuner’s property had not been seized at all, without giving any explanation. The investigative committee of the Russian Federation declined to comment, citing the fact that they have no right to give comments before the preliminary investigation is completed. Andrei Grivtso, a lawyer of Stanislav Kyuner, stated that he did not have information about seizure of the property of his client, and also declined to comment, citing the ‘secret’ signature in this case.

By the way, the version of the plea deal does not look quite fantastic. Players in the legal market of Saint Petersburg remember a similar story, allegedly happening in the case of the famous former banker Alexander Gitelson. In 2010, arrested in the case of embezzling billions of budget rubles placed on deposits of his EEFC bank, was unexpectedly released on pledge not to leave. Among the versions of the unexpected mitigation of a preventive measure, a plea bargain was mentioned, which involved Gitelson's personal yacht that cost almost 200 million rubles. However, if this agreement did take place, then it did not reach its goal: leaving the prison, the elderly billionaire left Russia in a hurry and was caught by Interpol only four years later, when he got into a storm in the North Sea on that very yacht.

Background information provided by the Novy Prospekt:

The Novo-Ogaryovo criminal case is connected with the contract work provided by the unitary enterprise Ateks, founded by the Federal Security Service (FSO). In 2015, FSO ordered Ateks to construct Site 53, a reception house at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence; 5.7 billion rubles were allocated for works, which were not completed, violations detected. They became the subject of a criminal case. The Director General of Ateks was Andrei Kaminov, well in with Dmitry Mikhalchenko, a Saint Petersburg billionaire, the owner of the holding company Forum. To perform works at Novo-Ogaryovo, Ateks employed several subcontractors from among the subsidiaries of AO BaltStroy, including Stroyfasad, Stroykomplekt. Their top managers were also taken into custody. Stanislav Kyuner was among those who made a plea deal to be put under house arrest.

Aleksey Dobrynin, partner, head of the attorneys at law Pen & Paper criminal-legal practice 

Irina Pankratova, Tatyana Butorina, Pavel Goroshkov