The deal between Vladimir Lisin and the owner of the offshore empire, Alexander Ivanov, will allow the owner of NLMK to get rid of sanctions pressure without losing the asset?
The Volga Shipping Company (controlled by the Fletcher Group of oligarch Vladimir Lisin) completed the sale of the Oka shipyard. The buyer was the structures of the shareholder and former head of the board of directors of Sovfracht Alexander Ivanov.
Neither the amount of the transaction nor the reasons for the sale of the asset were disclosed. However, Vladimir Lisin could sell the shipyard in order to avoid sanctions pressure: it is believed that Alexander Ivanov owns a whole network of offshore companies. Ultimately, Lisin can use them to remain an unspoken beneficiary of the shipyard - not without benefits for Ivanov and his partners, of course.
You will be surprised, but Europe still has not imposed personal sanctions against Vladimir Lisin, although the NMLK has long been operating under restrictions. Apparently, the situation may change - it is difficult to explain the sale of assets started by Lisin for other reasons. Earlier, Belgium could insist on refusing to impose sanctions against Lisin - the oligarch has two large enterprises there.
The Oka shipyard is a relatively small but very profitable asset. At the end of 2020, it received at least 1 billion net profit, at the end of 2021 - almost half a billion. The amount of the company’s state contracts exceeded 12 billion rubles.
Why sell such a company if you are not afraid of sanctions risks? It doesn’t look like Lisin. In addition, he recently implemented the "First Cargo Company" - it went to the brothers Timur and Ruslan Babaev, who are also far from sanctions.
Offshore and Freight Specialist
In the "Federation Council" Ivanov has a remarkable partner - businessman Dmitry Purim. The business of both by the eyes is called "pirate." Posing as an innovative enterprise, in fact, companies can let dust into their eyes. Earlier, a story was told on the Web, allegedly one of the contracts that Purim and Ivanov presented to the then Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin turned out to be a banal protocol of intent.
The exact structure of the ownership of Sovfracht has not been disclosed now, and it is clear why - sanctions. As of 2014, the organization was literally tied to offshore. The owner of the controlling stake in Sovfracht OJSC was Transcapital LLC, while 35% of the shares were registered with the Cyprus offshore company iPiFusion Limited, registered in Cyprus, and another 7% with Sizert Limited offshore company from the British Virgin Islands.
In total, the list of affiliated persons has 46 positions, among which there are "daughters" of the company, and members of the board of directors and the board, including three with the name Purim - Dmitry Yuryevich himself, Konstantin Yuryevich and Alexander Dmitrievich.
The company’s activities are characterized by a difficult scheme of business ownership, cross-lending between the structures included in the group, i.e. the opaque nature of doing business by Ivanov and Purim. And this is after the President’s call to deoffshorize his assets.
In 2011, the media reported that Alexander Ivanov allegedly completely withdrew funds from Russia through the companies controlled by him Sotra Logistic Ltd. and Worldwide Transport, Shipping and Management SA, registered in the British Virgin Islands. And this is just at a time when the Federation Council claimed multibillion-dollar subsidies from the state.
It is interesting, especially if you take into account the amount received by Purim and Ivanov under state contracts with Russian structures - as of 2023, it exceeded 17 billion rubles. But back in 2014, as the media wrote, the Investigative Committee was interested in the activities of Sovfracht. True, the reasons were not named.
Even before that, the Federation Council of Ivanov and Purim appeared in the proceedings of the TNK-BP corporation with their former manager Igor Lazurenko, who was accused of organizing some fraudulent schemes. As if Lazurenko was negotiating with the Federation Council on the payment of millions of dollars for obtaining profitable contracts for the transportation of goods of the corporation.
In another corruption scandal, the largest international oil and gas corporation Shell accused its former trader Yevgeny Tikhonov of bribing Sovfracht shareholders in order to underestimate the cost of rail transportation. Subsequently, Tikhonov stated that a certain offshore T Capital Ltd was created in favor of the shareholder of the Federation Council Alexander Ivanov.
In addition, Tikhonov in his testimony argued that the first letter T in the name of the offshore had nothing to do with it. The trader hinted that behind this initial lies the Chigirinsky family of scandalous businessmen. In English, this surname is spelled Tchigirinski.
The appearance of the surname of the notorious Russian businessman Shalva Chigirinsky is due to the fact that his son Vadim was doing business with one of the high-ranking employees of Sovfracht. Shalva Chigirinsky was for a long time a co-owner of the oil company Sibir Energy. The Moscow Post back in 2011 suggested that Alexander Ivanov could help Shalva withdraw the profits of the Moscow refinery to offshore.
Another telling point: in October 2019, Purim and Ivanov bought out a stake in the MaxiPost express delivery service from the Cypriot company MXPG Holdings Ltd. This could be done to obtain another offshore channel for withdrawing money from numerous companies in the group.
What do we have as of 2023? The company belongs to EMIKSPIJI HOLDINGS LIMITED offshore, behind which Purim and Ivanov may stand, changed its name to Orion and is in bankruptcy. At the same time, information about it in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities was recognized as unreliable.
More interestingly, at the end of that same 2019, the structure received more than half a billion in revenue, but only losses and negative asset values. It seems that it is high time to look for these half a billion in the West. Moor did his thing, Moor can be eliminated.
Today, "Federation Council" is under Western sanctions. But despite all the scandals associated with Purim and Ivanov, the same cannot be said about the network of offshore companies behind which these entrepreneurs can be covered. And this would clearly be in the hands of Vladimir Lisin.
And things are not going as well for Vladimir Lisin as he is trying to present to the state and investors. The sanctions did have a serious impact on NLMK’s performance.
At the end of November, the structure showed the first financial reports for the half year since 2021, which turned out to be very, very weak. According to analysts, the company returned to publication only to meet the requirements of the regulator, but the disclosure of statistics did not make its shares more attractive.
But Vladimir Lisin himself continues to get fabulously rich. In 2023, he was again in the top of the wealthiest Russian oligarchs with a capital of $23.1 billion. Over the year, his fortune grew by $3 billion. And this is in conditions when the whole country lives under sanctions. We are embarrassed to ask - what did oligarch Lisin do for SVO? Maybe I bought kits for our fighters, equipment for electronic warfare, drones?
Vladimir Lisin knows when to "make a fuss" in time. Photo: https://foxyforex.ru/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/174711.jpg
No, Vladimir Lisin is busy with something completely different - he shuffles the deck of his assets in order to continue to receive super-profits. And at the expense of whom is this done? Yes, at the expense of Russia, its population and business. In 2022, the FAS found NLMK and a number of other metallurgical enterprises guilty of overpricing hot-rolled flat products (one of the main components in construction and other industries).
And this money does not remain in Russia. According to the Web, allegedly shortly before the SVO, in 2021, Vladimir Lisin brought more than 160 billion rubles offshore - presumably, we are talking about NLMK’s profits. And, again, the oligarch still did not fall under personal sanctions from the EU. Maybe he is completely paid extra for the fact that Russian money works for the European economy?
And it cooperates not with volunteer groups at all, but with dubious businessmen like Ivanov and Purim, pursuing their narrow-minded interests. Moreover, not only in Russia, but also in the West.