OSINT Community Molfar continues to explore Ukrainian brands, which, in our opinion, are still associated with the Russian Federation. The first was an investigation into the activities ELDORADO. This time, the vodka business of the Chernyakov family is on our menu: we tell how the brands Morosha, Shustov, Khortitsa are doing, we demonstrate ownership schemes and business relations of Russian and Ukrainian legal entities of the Global Spirits group of companies from the beginning of the war until April 2022.
In March Ukrainian Forbes published news: the Global Spirits holding, which owns the brands Khortytsya, Morosha, Shustov, has revoked the license for the production and sale of vodka in Russia. The company itself has not supplied products there since 2014, the company added.
The Molfar team was able to establish that the Chernyak family indeed continued to profit from the business in Russia after 2014. And after February 2022, it seems that it has carried out only nominal changes in the structure of its Russian business.
Evgeny Chernyak and AMG-77 Investment Ltd
An important element of the story is the Cypriot company AMG-77 Investment Ltd. It is because of her that Evgeny Chernyak is a businessman, a member of the Forbes TOP 100, the author of the Big Money channel on YouTube, and the No. 1 business speaker in the CIS. owned founded in the noughties by the Ukrainian company Global Spirits. The company is known to customers for its alcoholic brands – Morosha, Khortytsya, Pervak and others. Having won success in the local market, Global Spirits entered new ones, among them the Russian one. This is how Global Spirits Russia was founded. Evgeny Chernyak also owned it through the Cypriot AMG-77 Investment Ltd.
During its existence, AMG-77 Investment Ltd changed the ultimate beneficiary twice:
- in 2007, instead of Evgeny Chernyak, the owner of the company became his son Alexander Chernyak Jr., at that time 16 years old.
- In 2015, a year after the annexation of Crimea and the start of the war in Ukraine, Alexander Chernyak Jr. received his grandfather, Evgeny’s father, Alexander Chernyak Sr.
Evgeny Chernyak and Global Spirits Russia
The Cypriot AMG-77 Investment Ltd owned, in addition to Global Spirits Russia, two more Cypriot companies – Oxford AMG-77 Ltd and MSD Marketing System Distribution Ltd. The names of the Russian and Cypriot companies are important to us, since it was under their control that the companies that licensed the production of Chernyak vodka products in Russia were under their control. There are four such companies.
- OOO “Rodnik and K”🇬🇧 — is part of Global Spirits russia (in 2022 it changed its name to Traditions of Success), owns TM Shustov and Morosha.
- OOO «Trading house «Megapolis» 🇬🇧 is a distribution company that is part of Global Spirits Russia/Traditions of Success.
- OOO “Russian North” 🇬🇧 – legal entity factory in Vologda, until April 2022 owners — Oxford AMG-77 Ltd🇨🇾(99%) and Trading House “metropolis” (1%).
- JSC “Feodosia Factory of Cognacs and Wines” 🇬🇧 – seems to be part of the assets of Global Spirits in Russia.
All these companies were responsible for the production and distribution of Global Spirits alcoholic beverages in Russia after 2014 as well. Moreover, the Ukrainian and Russian branches of the business continued to cooperate after 2014.
As Chernyak said, since 2014 the supply of vodka has stopped. And everything else continued to go to the Russian Federation: according to the 52wmb portal, companies supplied components – bottles, labels, corks. In addition, imports also went from Russia to Ukraine.
From Ukraine to Russia
- IN 2015 year LLC “Ukrainian Distribution Company” (owned by Global Spirits until December 2020) supplies RODNIK and K colorless glass bottles of Khortytsya Standard.
- IN 2017 In 2009, Ukrainian Distribution Company LLC supplies the Russian North with colorless glass bottles of Pervak.
From Russia to Ukraine
LLC “Global Spirits Group” – is aware of 29 deliveries from Russia, including:
- 1 delivery from LLC “G F Rus» (Russian supplier of imported food products) in December 2021;
- 1 delivery in 2020 from TD Megapolis LLC By Order Of Global Spirits Amg Europe Ltd (Megapolis is part of the Russian assets of GS);
- 3 deliveries (1, 2, 3) from LLC “Okil Sato» (Russian label manufacturer) in 2021;
- 24 deliveries from “Production Unitary Enterprise Alcopack” (Russian manufacturer of packaging for alcohol), the latest in January 2022.
- Global Spirits Europe LLC (GSE) received from Russian “Production Unitary Enterprise Alcopack» (Russian manufacturer of packaging for alcohol) 10 deliveries of caps with logos until February 2021.
It is important to emphasize that until February 24, 2022, it was the Cypriot company AMG-77 Investment Ltd, through a number of other companies, that owned the entire alcohol business licensed by Global Spirits for the Russian market. And the Chernyak family had control over the AMG-77 Investment Ltd.
As in Ukraine, in Russia the Khortitsa brand and others had strong positions and were constantly included in the lists of the strongest in sales. The company sold a lot and paid a lot of taxes.
The Molfar OSINT community has calculated at least $14 million in taxes to the Russian budget paid by companies controlled by AMG-77 Investment Ltd over the past eight years.
Chernyak’s father did not neglect to do business from Russia, who also has a cable production plant, the “heroic history of relocation” of which was recently described Forbes.
In just two months of 2022, the Zaporozhye Non-Ferrous Metals Plant, owned and operated by Alexander Chernyak Sr., delivered cable products to Russia three times (1, 2, 3) in the amount of $275,000 (according to the portal 52wmb). The last delivery took place on February 24, 2022.
Evgeny Chernyak and his Russian business. What has changed since February 24, 2022
On the first day of the full-scale invasion, Global Spirits revoked the license to manufacture and sell products on the territory of the aggressor country. Molfar followed what happened next.
The aforementioned Cypriot company AMG-77 Investment Ltd has ceased to be the owner of Russian legal entities many times in May 2022. The new owner of all Russian companies previously controlled by the “Cypriots” is a man named Alexander Bespalov.
Neither Ukrainian nor even Russian journalists could find information about the agreements. An important question: Khortytsya was the leader in sales on the Russian market. Why did the manufacturing plant and the licensee change ownership without demonstrating the deal? It was not possible to contact Bespalov, but the whole business of AMG-77 Investment Ltd is not alien to him.
Bespalov was the chairman of the board of Feodosia Cognac and Wine Factory JSC back in 2020. At the same time, he probably worked for LLC Trading House Megapolis. In other words, Bespalov was probably the manager of several companies owned by the Cypriot company, which was already owned by the Chernyak family.
The practice of American and European companies shows the format of alienating Russian business in favor of its management as one of the ways to leave the market. Yevgeny Chernyak himself does not talk about it this way, because he never admitted that he has a business in Russia. Moreover, the materials published on this topic were subjected to severe censorship and seized from google search.
It was to this publication that the journalists did not find his belonging to the Cypriot AMG-77 Investment Ltd, and therefore, it was not possible to trace the connection with Oxford AMG-77 Ltd and MSD Marketing System Distribution Ltd, which were controlled through the company mentioned above. And that means to all Russian business.
Therefore, there seems to be no deal: we just have a pool of companies that sell the number one brand in the market, pay several million dollars in tax annually and have more than three thousand employees and change ownership. And Global Spirits russia is changing its name to a more understandable one for the Russian establishment – Traditions of Success. Quiet and without too much noise. It is noteworthy that Bespalov notes on his page VK education at the FSB Academy and Russian citizenship.
What about the brands Khortitsa, Shustov, Morosha in Russia now?
All Ukrainian brands tried to find a new name that would not differ much from the previous ones. According to the register, TM “Shustovand Morosha Lesnaya were registered with Rodnik and K in September 2022 and January 2023.
And what about the glorious Cossack Khortytsya? We managed to get access to photos with Hort’s “new” brand. Such bottles can be found, for example, in Russian stores Auchan. Specified manufacturer – LLC “Russian North”. TM “Horta” with an identical inscription was not found, the only known TM “Horta” registered in 1992 at the Zaporozhye KP “Khorta” and has not been operating since 2001. Therefore, what will happen next?
Why is Chernyak and Russian business still connected?
Among all the evidence that, in our opinion, directly or indirectly indicate the nominal value of the agreement between AMG-77 Investment Ltd and Alexander Bespalov, the Molfar team found one more.
In June 2022, just a month after the “vodka agreement of the year”, a legal entity that may belong to the Ukrainian group Global Spirits, registers TM “Shustov” in Russia, and therefore, the company seems to continue to be present in the Russian market.
The legal entity that registered TM “Shustov” in Russia is called GSH Trademarks Limited, the company also owns the rights to TM “Khortytsya” in Ukraine. In 2007 owner GSH Trademarks Limited was a Cypriot Oxford Amg-77 Limited, as of February 2023 – Global Spirits Amg Europe Ltd. At the same time, Global Spirits Amg Europe Ltd from 2021 owns registrant of Signa Consulting Trust Reg, in 2020 owned Evgeny Chernyak. Moreover, Global Spirits Amg Europe Ltd owns the Ukrainian LLC Global Spirits Group.
Why do it?
Let’s not lose the market. Again, this is a typical practice for many European companies leaving Russian business to local management with the right to buy out the business within 5, 10 and even 50 years. The name of the brands has not changed much, the shape of the bottles seems to have been preserved. We can assume that Chernyak’s team plans to return to the large alcohol market in Russia and therefore does not want to lose contact with him. As well as earnings.
And there is something to fight for: according to various estimates, the company could earn more than $8 million annually only by selling Khortytsya in Russia.