Monday, 15 July 2024

Andrey Berezin, an enigmatic fugitive Russian Euroinvest fraudster exposed

Andrey Berezin, an enigmatic fugitive Russian Euroinvest fraudster exposed
Monday, 29 January 2024 09:05

The searches conducted in the office of Andrey Berezin’s investment company Euroinvest in 2019 were ‘invalidated’ by the court. However, the information obtained during investigation revealed some intriguing details. The events that unfolded four years ago have continued to develop in 2023, shedding light on the mysterious assets of Andrey Berezin, the Russian oligarch.

Before delving into the investigation, it’s worth noting a peculiar observation. If you search for Andrey Berezin name on Google, some results appear to be missing. The US Google even acknowledges that “some search results could have been deleted in accordance with local law.” This raises questions about whether the oligarch is actively trying to control information about himself to shape a specific reputation. It begs the question, does Andrey Valerievich Berezin have something to hide?

Andrey Berezin’s Ongoing Reputation Battle: Unraveling Intriguing Details from a Controversial Legal Case

It has become evident that Andrey Berezin, who is part of the inner circle of Governor Alexander Drozdenko in the Leningrad Region, has been very concerned about his reputation in recent years. In 2019, when several local media outlets, including Fontanka publication, reported on alleged searches in Berezin’s Euroinvest company, possibly related to a $15 million server acquisition case from a German company, the businessman took offense. He took the matter to court, seeking to invalidate the information.

The court ruled in his favor. However, what is truly intriguing are the details that emerged during the case, not the fact that criminal cases were not initiated against Andrey Berezin or LLC IK Euroinvest based on materials from the Baltic Customs. Interestingly, none of the publications referenced the specific case number. Instead, court documents explicitly stated that “a search was conducted in the premises occupied by LLC IK Euroinvest on 06.02.2019 in connection with the investigation of criminal case No. 11804009715000094, initiated by the Baltic Customs under paragraph ‘a,’ part 2 of Art. 193.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. However, no criminal case was produced against Berezin Andrey Valerievich as of that date.”

The media articles, on the other hand, referred to a different article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. From this, one can infer that there was indeed a case related to the execution of currency transactions for transferring funds on a large scale to non-resident accounts using forged documents (as mentioned in court documents). Otherwise, how could the specific criminal case number be linked to these allegations? This raises further questions about the nature of this case and its potential implications on Berezin’s financial dealings.

 

Photo: https://kad.arbitr.ru

Unraveling the $15 Million Server Acquisition Mystery: Andrey Berezin’s Connection to Intriguing Financial Transactions

It’s intriguing that the same Fontanka.Ru, a media outlet, was mentioned in a publication related to the Complit Company, a major office equipment distributor. According to the publication, Complit Company supposedly bought Hewlett-Packard servers from a German company for $15 million back in 2010, but the goods were never received. This raised suspicions at the time about whether the transaction involved the withdrawal of funds. Interestingly, five years later, there was a resolution regarding the fate of $8.5 million. Surprisingly, there have been no claims from Complit Company against the media outlets that mentioned them in their 2019 publications. Similarly, there have been no lawsuits from Vasily Pavlov, the mentioned business partner of Berezin, who was reportedly a manager in the German company responsible for providing servers to Complit Company.

Further details about this intriguing story emerged from foreign websites. The Weeklynewsreview website, for instance, reported that the entire saga began with investigations into bank accounts in Latvia, which drew the attention of German and Swiss authorities due to suspicious activities. Additionally, the publication mentioned a certain “Auditexpert Company,” which appears to be connected to the case (we will revisit this later).

So, it seems that a foreign investigation was carried out concerning fund transfers from Russia, possibly disguised as purchases of office equipment. The question remains: Where did the money go if the equipment was never delivered to its intended recipient? This puzzling situation raises more questions about the nature of the transactions and the involvement of various entities in the process.

Andrey Berezin and Vasily Pavlov: partners in shady business

Vasily Pavlov, a long-time business partner of Berezin, was mentioned in various publications and is recognized as a member of the DP Billionaire Rating 2022, according to Delovoy Petersburg.

Over the years, Pavlov has been a shareholder in 21 companies, including seven operational ones. Some of these companies include LLC CD, LLC Rancho-Okhota, LLC Neoprint, LLC NPO Neoprint, LLC Drimkas, LLC RSI, and LLC Udarnik. Notably, Drimkas operates in the IT sphere, and in 2021, Roskomnadzor attempted to take legal action against it under the charge of “carrying out entrepreneurial activities in violation of the conditions provided for by a special permit.”

Moreover, there is information from another legal dispute indicating that Drimkas was involved in selling certain equipment.

Pavlov’s RSI company also has interests in software production, with a stake in SET LLC and Crystal Service Integration LLC, which is among the top 5 largest IT suppliers in retail.

Given this background, it is reasonable to assume that Pavlov might have been involved in the mentioned foreign server deliveries since his business ventures are also related to this area. It is worth noting that three other companies, later dissolved, were involved in computer repair and peripheral equipment.

Furthermore, Vasily V. Pavlov is listed as the managing director of the German company Crysdorf GmbH in official registers. It is believed that the unnamed German company mentioned in Fontanka’s publication, which was supposed to supply servers to “Complit Company,” is linked to Pavlov. The suspicion arises whether this unnamed company could indeed be Crysdorf GmbH and had a role in the transaction for which Complit Company made payment but did not receive the servers as intended.

Photo: https://opencorporates.com

While this is just one of the companies associated with Vasily Pavlov, registered in Germany, there are others as well. Notably, he and Leonid Darevsky, the director of Crysdorf GmbH, were also linked to the company Wäsch Etiketten Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung.

Photo: https://www.companyhouse.de/

Simultaneously, Darevsky held positions in several German (and non-German) companies. Open sources indicate that he received correspondence at a UK address and held Uzbekistan nationality with German resident status. This arrangement seems to provide him with a convenient way to navigate various aspects of his business dealings.

Photo: https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk

Andrey Berezin’s Involvement Resurfaces: Tellus Group Connected to Asset Sale by Almaz-Antey arms manufacturer

Regarding their connection with the oligarch Berezin, both Berezin and Pavlov were involved in several shared assets.

One such asset is Crystal Center LLC, in which both held shares. Presently, among the current owners are Andrey Viktorovich Pavlov (possibly a relative, given the matching patronymic and surname), along with Elena Smotrova, who serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of TELLUS GROUP, and Nikolai Inobinny, the General Director of Tellus-Group. In 2021, the Kommersant newspaper reported that Tellus-Group structures were included in the shareholders of the Rigel plant in April 2020. The Rigel plant was established on the basis of Russia’s first Tudor battery plant, founded in 1897 by Siemens and General Electric. Andrey Berezin’s Euroinvest investment company played a crucial role as the primary investment partner for the development of Rigel.

 

Photo: https://www.rusprofile.ru

Once again, the name of Tellus Group has surfaced, this time in connection with the sale of an asset by Almaz-Antey in St. Petersburg. Specifically, it involved the “North-West Regional Center of the Almaz-Antey – Obukhov Plant” facility. According to The Sankt-Petersburg Post, the building was transferred to Center Crystal LLC, the same company where Pavlov and Berezin previously held shares. The editors had previously reported on the involvement of Deputy General Director Mikhail Podvyaznikov in the sale of non-specialized assets of the Almaz-Antey concern. He is often cited in the media as an expert in the military-industrial complex and military-space industry.

However, what makes this situation intriguing is the presence of a certain Irina Askoldovna Garter as a shareholder of PJSC Svetlana, which is substantiated by both court documents and materials from the company’s website. It raises the question whether Irina Garter is related to the mentioned Mikhail Garter. The connections in this chain are quite numerous, adding an element of curiosity to the entire situation.

Photo: https://www.svetlanajsc.ru

Furthermore, by the end of 2021, Andrey Valerievich Berezin held the position of an affiliated member on the Board of Directors of PJSC Svetlana. In an interview with Delovoy Petersburg, the Svetlana plant was also identified as Berezin’s primary asset.

Photo: http://disclosure.1prime.ru

Andrey Berezin’s Intricate Web of Control: Unraveling the Ties between PJSC Svetlana and ZPIF Fifth Element

In April 2022, the board of directors recommended that PJSC Svetlana’s shareholders sell the shares of ZPIF (Closed Mutual Investment Fund). A few months later, ZPIF “Fifth Element” acquired 99.08% of the shares of PJSC Svetlana, known as the founder of the Russian electronic industry. Interestingly, there were reports on the Nevsky Prospekt website suggesting that the same individuals who were previously associated with PJSC Svetlana might be controlling ZPIF Fifth Element. The transaction’s financial value remained unchanged after the terms were rearranged, but the identities of the ultimate beneficiaries were obscured, creating a convenient situation.

This connection is indirectly confirmed through a chain of relationships. The trustee of ZPIF “Fifth Element” is LLC “Management Company Stock House.” The same Management Company is responsible for managing the shares of another ZPIF in Tudor LLC, which is co-owned by Nikolai Inobinny’s Neptune LLC, previously linked to the Tellus Group mentioned earlier. Furthermore, Stock House is also the mortgagee of Vasily Pavlov’s stake in Neoprint LLC. The intricacy of these connections highlights how closely intertwined the relationships are.

 

Photo: https://egrul.nalog.ru/index.html

However, there is additional information yet to be revealed.

In the court documents related to a legal dispute involving PJSC Svetlana, there is mention of LLC AuditExpert Company, which is under scrutiny regarding its potential involvement in the placement of securities for PJSC.

 

Photo: https://kad.arbitr.ru

Andrey Berezin’s Complex Business Network: Unraveling the Intriguing Connections of AuditExpert Company and More

In 2019, AuditExpert Company LLC mentioned an incident involving the supply (or rather, the underdelivery) of servers from Germany. Interestingly, both Vasily Pavlov and Andrey Berezin were noted among the owners of this company, which unexpectedly got liquidated in 2022. Additionally, IK Vek, formerly owned by Felix Long, a shareholder of PJSC Svetlana, was also among the owners. Felix Long was previously referred to as a business partner of Russneft co-owner Mikhail Gutseriev, according to the Kommersant newspaper.

Furthermore, Dlin, along with Veronika Andreevna Berezin, was a co-owner of Petrogradskaya Management Company LLC. Before its liquidation, this company came under the control of two closed-end investment funds, namely Petrogradsky and Balance Invest. The management of Balance Invest was handled by LLC UK Ingria, which is also responsible for managing ZPIF Apart Development. This latter entity owns a 50% stake in LLC IK Euroinvest. It’s worth noting that until October 2022, Berezin and his business partner Vasiliev directly owned Euroinvest. Afterward, everything shifted to the closed-end investment fund, similar to what happened with PJSC Svetlana. Intriguingly, since October 2022, the second owner of Evroinvest Investment Company has been the Closed Combined Mutual Investment Fund Balance Invest, which is managed by the Stock House Management Company, a familiar name from the context of Svetlana. These connections undoubtedly raise some intriguing thoughts and suspicions.

 

Photo: https://www.rusprofile.ru

Let’s shift our focus back to AuditExpert Company LLC.

Andrey Berezin departed from the company’s ownership in September 2021, and MegaCenter LLC took over as the new owner. Then, in December 2021, all the other former co-owners decided to leave the company unanimously, and a small portion of shares was transferred to a certain Igor Tsvirko. Despite these changes, MegaCenter remained the primary owner. In a surprising turn of events, in February 2022, the authorized capital of AuditExpert Company LLC experienced a significant spike, increasing from 10 thousand rubles to 944.8 million rubles. Consequently, MegaCenter’s share rose to 944.7 million rubles. Only a month later, in March 2022, AuditExpert Company LLC was marked as “liquidated,” and the liquidation process was completed in June of the same year, with Igor Tsvirko serving as the liquidator.

 

Photo: https://www.rusprofile.ru

The same fate befell MegaCenter, which ceased to exist in July 2022.

Andrey Berezin’s Financial Intricacies: Unraveling the Complex Manipulations of AuditExpert Company and its Associates

However, something catches our attention: just a month prior to the decision to liquidate, the authorized capital of the company and the share of its main owner experienced substantial growth (Tsvirko’s portion was negligible at 0.01%). This raises a question about the purpose behind these manipulations. The answer lies in the intricacies of the legislation. It appears that all non-distributed profits and remaining finances were shared among the owners of the LLC, particularly MegaCenter, which was also subsequently liquidated, suggesting an attempt to obscure the financial trail.

The scheme employed to transfer nearly 1 billion rubles to someone’s pocket is particularly intriguing. However, a crucial detail to note is that until March 2022, Valentin Glaznev, a co-owner of LLC UK Ingria (which manages ZPIF owning a stake in LLC IK Euroinvest), served as the director of AuditExpert Company LLC. On the other hand, Tsvirko holds the position of general director at Hollywood Shopping and Entertainment Center LLC. Among the owners of this center are Yuri Vasiliev, Berezin’s business partner, and Apart Development ZPIF, which falls under the management of Ingria Management Company. Additionally, Berezin himself held a stake in the Hollywood Shopping and Entertainment Center from November 19, 2015, until April 15, 2020. The connections between these entities and individuals raise further questions about their financial activities.

 

Photo: https://www.rusprofile.ru

In a similar fashion, MegaCenter LLC followed a comparable pattern: in 2021, Graviton Investments LLC became the new owner, holding a significant share of 761.5 million rubles. Both MegaCenter and Graviton Investments were subsequently liquidated in 2022, and similar to before, they increased their authorized capital just before the liquidation process.

Andrey Berezin’s Web of Connections: Unraveling the Intriguing Relations with Graviton Investments, MegaCenter, and Beyond

Elena Vasilyeva was the head of Graviton Investments. It’s worth exploring whether Berezin’s business partner is related to Yuri Vasiliev. Interestingly, Vasilyeva was previously a co-owner of LLC Specialized Developer Euroinvest Development SPB, which is currently owned by LLC IK Euroinvest. Veronika Bloom, the director of Konnogvardeyskoye LLC, was among the co-owners of the developer, and Konnogvardeyskoye LLC is owned by Veronika and Irina Berezin.

According to legal records, the owner of Graviton Investments was the closed combined mutual investment fund Element Development-1, managed by the familiar management company Stock House. Interestingly, back in 2018, the Kommersant newspaper reported that Svetlana PJSC was creating a closed combined mutual investment fund Element Development-1 to manage and sell real estate on the company’s premises.

The question still remains about whose interests were served by the manipulation of funds withdrawal from AuditExpert Company, MegaCenter, and Graviton Investments LLC.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that MegaCenter was previously the founder of Ecopark LLC, headed by Artur Gaysin, the brother of Ruslan Gaysin, a former deputy of the Legislative Assembly of the Leningrad Region. Prior to its liquidation, the last owner of Ecopark was City 78 Agroinvest LLC, controlled by HC City 78 LLC. Until January 2023, Ruslan Gaysin himself was listed among the co-owners of HC City 78 LLC, known to readers of The Moscow Post for publishing about the Snopki brothers, the owners of the bankrupt Phaeton.

Now, turning back to Pavlov, who was involved in the server case, and the oligarch Berezin, their connections extend beyond these assets and businesses. They are also linked by ownership of shares in Udarnik LLC.

The relevance of revisiting the 2019 server incident becomes apparent since some individuals involved in that particular history reemerged in legal relations with German companies, particularly as equipment suppliers, in 2022 and 2023. Thus, it is essential to delve into these connections and unravel the present-day implications.

Andrey Berezin’s Puzzle of Connections: Unveiling the Intricate Web Surrounding Complit Company LLC and Hewlett Packard Enterprise

LLC “Company Complit,” which was previously mentioned as a buyer of servers from a specific German company, has been in existence since 1996. The company operates in the wholesale of computers, computer peripherals, and software. Over the years, it has been a supplier for a substantial number of government contracts, with a combined value exceeding 1.1 billion rubles. Notably, its clientele includes prominent entities such as the State Unitary Enterprise Petersburg Metropolitan (with 35 contracts worth 266 million rubles), Rosalkogolregulirovanie (with 11 contracts worth 326 million rubles), PJSC Rostelecom (with ten contracts worth 136 million rubles), as well as various legal entities affiliated with the state corporation Roscosmos, the Ministry of Justice of Russia, and regional departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This information reveals the significant role of this private firm in the IT infrastructure of large state assets, government departments, banks, and major commercial companies across various sectors of the economy.

Photo: https://www.rusprofile.ru

Vitaly Kurduta, the owner of Complit Company LLC, remains relatively private despite his business success. In 2022, the company reported a revenue of 820 million rubles and operates as part of Kurduta’s diverse portfolio, which includes five computer and hardware trading and software development firms. Both Complit Company and its subsidiaries are involved in government contracts as suppliers.

According to their website, Complit Company lists Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and HP Inc., the manufacturer of personal computers and printing equipment, as partners. However, a legal database reveals that Hewlett Packard Enterprise LLC (the Russian subsidiary of HPE) breached its contractual obligations with Complit Company. For the years 2022-2023, Complit Company filed four lawsuits against the German-rooted company. One of the cases indicated that the defendant “unreasonably, in violation of the obligations assumed, ceased activities in the territory of the Russian Federation,” as confirmed by a notification on June 2, 2022.

Despite these legal disputes, Complit Company still maintains contractual relationships with several end customers, including Megafon, State Unitary Enterprise Moskovsky metro, JSC Tikhvin Carriage Building Plant, JSC GK Etalon, and State Unitary Enterprise Petersburg Metro. It seems that advance payments were made to Hewlett Packard Enterprise for services related to maintaining equipment for these customers, but the work was not completed.

Interestingly, one of the disputes between the companies, concerning the recovery of unjust enrichment in the amount of 75,154,924.41 rubles under partnership agreement No. 2BNZP of 21.07.2015, was held behind closed doors due to the presence of information constituting a commercial secret in the case file. This wording raises curiosity, reminiscent of a 2015 deal reported by Fontanka, in which $8.5 million left the country. The 2015 case also involved companies selling equipment with technical support, which, despite being paid for through the HP Care Pack, was not provided in the end. The extensive list of companies and departments involved in these dealings is quite impressive.

 

Photo: https://kad.arbitr.ru

An additional legal dispute referred to a contract from 2015. The defendant in this case terminated the technical support for the software, leading to the collection of over 128 million rubles due to unjust enrichment.

Throughout these years, Hewlett Packard Enterprise LLC has been under the ownership of offshore companies registered in the Netherlands.

 

Photo: https://www.rusprofile.ru

It might appear that “Hewlett Packard Enterprise” and Berezin are intertwined, especially considering the alleged involvement of Berezin’s business partner in the server case. The connections observed here are intriguing.

Andrey Berezin’s Financial Maze yet to be investigated

Previously, Alexander Nikolaevich Mikoyan served as the director of Hewlett Packard Enterprise LLC. Open sources also mentioned him as the vice president of the strategy, development, and marketing group at SoftLine Group. It’s worth noting that SoftLine’s structure, particularly Softline Trade, was involved in a case related to ex-Deputy Minister of Energy Anatoly Tikhonov, who is currently facing trial for suspected fraud amounting to over 600 million rubles in connection with the GIS TEK information system.

In November 2022, Softline JSC came under the ownership of Atalaya LLC, which is owned by ZPIF Axioma Capital managed by Tetis Capital LLC. Tetis Capital, in turn, belongs to Trinfico JSC, owned by Oleg Belaya. In May 2023, RBC reported the sale of the Nevsky Center shopping center in St. Petersburg to Tetis Capital, part of the Trinfico investment company. Interestingly, in February 2023, Aptekarsky LLC, which owns the Vladimirsky Passage, Avenue, and Cosmos shopping centers, was considered a potential buyer. Coincidentally, among the former owners of the “Pharmaceutical Garden,” Andrey Berezin and his business partner Vasily Pavlov were involved. The Sankt-Petersburg Post also reported on a potential kinship between the mortgagee Maxim Zhukov and the influential businessman Vladimir Golubev, known as “Barmaley” since the 90s. Notably, Maxim Vladimirovich Zhukov was one of the owners of the previously mentioned Auditexpert Company LLC, seemingly alongside Berezin and Pavlov until Zhukov’s departure in 2021.

In April 2023, Aptekarsky LLC underwent a change in ownership, and the current owners are now two closed-end investment funds: Quark 2 and Quark 3, whose beneficiaries remain undisclosed. Closed-end investment funds are a convenient structure to conceal assets and the identities of beneficiaries.

Given all these intricate connections, it becomes evident that investigating not only the non-delivery of servers but also the withdrawal of substantial sums, including through the liquidation of various LLCs, is necessary. As for the role of oligarch Berezin in this matter, that remains for the competent authorities to ascertain and decide. The whole story seems to lead to closed-end investment funds, making them an important aspect of this investigation.

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