He ends his third term in the status labor veteran And honorary citizen of Soligorsk. Kalugin received these regalia for his work at Belaruskali. Having started his way at the enterprise as usual locksmithhe rose to the rank of CEO and held this post for almost ten years – from 1992 to 2001.
The very next day after crossing the border, Kalugin opens an account with the Swiss bank Credit Suisse for an unnamed company. At that time, he did not officially work in any company in Belarus – only as a deputy of the House of Representatives. In a year and seven months, almost $1.3 million will appear in this account.
With the help of CyberPartizan, we found out that Kalugin’s income for seven years – from 2003 to 2009 – amounted to about $87,000. This is 15 times less than the amount in his Swiss account.
For explanations, we turned directly to Petr Kalugin, but in a telephone conversation he could not clearly comment on our questions. We began to look for answers ourselves, in his biography.
Today Petr Kalugin is 81 years old. He was born in Russia, studied at the Leningrad Mining Institute, and arrived in Belarus in 1966. Here he began working for Belaruskali, reaching the top of the career ladder in 1992. Kalugin recognizedthat production volumes fell by more than two times. But the quality of products was appreciated abroad, and the company entered international markets.
Also, under the leadership of Kalugin, the structure of Belaruskali changed slightly. Separated from it in 2000 subdivision “Shakhtospetsstroy”. Since Soviet times, it has been engaged in laying mines, in which the direct employees of Belaruskali then worked. Our source in the industry claims that one of the key owners of the already private enterprise Shakhtospetsstroy was its director Valery Startsev, and Kalugin actively supported this privatization. The following year, Kalugin left Belaruskali and focused on his parliamentary career.
In the fall of 2008, a couple of months after opening an account with Credit Suisse, ended Kalugin’s cadence in the House of Representatives. Already in 2009, he began working at Shakhtospetsstroy – for his former contractor, whom he helped to become private trader. Moreover, the appointment of Kalugin took place on the eve of a large project.
In January 2010 Belarus agreed on the construction of the Garlyk mining and processing plant in Turkmenistan worth about $1 billion. The general contractor of the project, the Belgorkhimprom company, subcontracted Shakhtospetsstroy. Two months later, the same $1.3 million appeared on Kalugin’s Swiss account, which, as we have already found out, he could not earn in places of official employment.
The construction of the complex turned scandal. According to the media, the Turkmen authorities accused Belarus of improper performance of the contract and filed a lawsuit with the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, commonly known as the Stockholm Arbitration. They estimated the damage at $900 million. In Belarus, these accusations were denied and a counterclaim for $400 million was filed. The completion of the proceedings has not yet been reported, but the potash plant in Turkmenistan was nevertheless put into operation. It happened in 2017, although the launch was planned two years earlier.
All this time Pyotr Kalugin works at Shakhtospetsstroy. He has a small house in the Slutsk district, his wife has a four-room apartment near Komsomolskoye Lake in Minsk and a two-story cottage near the Soligorsk reservoir.
Kalugin closed his Swiss bank account in August 2014.
Albert Laritsky is from Gomel, he is 47 years old.
In his hometown, in the 90s, he started his first business – he sold alcohol wholesale and retail. Then Laritsky met a businessman Yuri Zudheimer. He comes from Kazakhstan, but even before the collapse of the Soviet Union, he moved to Germany. There he began to manufacture filters and lubricants and opened their warehouse in Gomel.
Later, the roads of Zudheimer and Laritsky temporarily diverged. The first moved from Germany to Switzerland, and the second moved to Russia, where he became vice president of Zernostandart. In 2008 this agricultural holding bought back the shares “Novovyatsky ski plant” and soon began its modernization, the plan of which supported then regional governor Nikita Belykh.
This project brought Zudheimer and Laritsky back together. According to the German businessman, at the request of his Belarusian partner, he allocated about $40 million for the modernization of the Novovyatsky Combine. But the project failed, and the enterprise was mired in debt and became insolvent. Expecting to return the money invested in the plant, Zudheimer turned to the FSB, and in 2015 Laritsky was detained on suspicion of financial fraud.
According to investigatorsa Belarusian businessman, who by that time had received a residence permit in Switzerland, under false contracts took loans from the Russian Sberbank for the purchase of equipment for the modernization of the plant, but withdrew the money received to his personal account in the same Credit Suisse bank.
Albert Laritsky commented on this for the BRC: “I live in Switzerland. Of course I have an account. And, of course, I transferred money from my company to this account. That is, I transferred money as an investment from my account to my company and then partially received this money back. Not all”.
We checked the history of Laritsky’s account, opened in February 2011 during the modernization of Novovyatsky Kombinat. In May 2011, it had about $3 million on it. The maximum amount on the second account was about $275,000 in March 2014. However, according to the investigation, as a result of financial fraud, Laritsky withdrew a much larger amount – about $ 10 million. At the trial, he fully admitted his guilt, but told us that he was forced to do this:
“IN [СИЗО] “Lefortovo” is recognized by everyone. Politicians, businessmen, ministers. According to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, staying in Lefortovo is equated with torture. I spent two years and four months there. Believe me, if, God forbid, you got there, you would confess to the Kennedy assassination.
Laritsky considers his case politically motivated – fabricated in order to imprison the then governor of the Kirov region, Nikita Belykh. His detained in 2016, caught red-handed while receiving a bribe in Moscow. How argued at the trial, the prosecutor received money from Belykh for his patronage of the Novovyatsky Ski Plant. Laritsky allegedly handed over €200,000 to the Belykh through intermediaries in 2011-2012, and Zudheimer – €400,000 in 2014-2016.
Prior to his appointment as governor in 2009, Nikita Belykh was the leader liberal Union of Right Forces, a Russian opposition bloc co-founded by Boris Nemtsov. Having become governor, Belykh left all opposition organizations, but he did not abandon liberal views – he appointed him as his adviser Alexei Navalny.
International organization Transparency International suggeststhat the security forces could use Laritsky and Zudheimer in the Belykh case as a “torpedo”. This is the name of a person who, as part of an operational experiment, is sent to give a bribe to an official.
As a result, the court sentenced Laritsky to three years in prisonand Belykh – to eightand he is still serving his sentence. Zudheimer was not charged, although Belykh was found guilty of taking a bribe from him, and was acquitted in the episode with Laritsky.
After his release, Laritsky worked for some time in Belarus, but then, at the request of Zudheimer, he again landed in prison – this time in Switzerland. He was recently released.
But the bulk of supplies under this scheme went through Witold Tomashevsky’s Savoil, our source claims. For five months of work, the revenue of this company exceeded $800 million, and in 2012 it approached $5 billion. Net profit for two years is over $80 million.
Tomashevsky is a longtime partner of a disgraced Belarusian businessman Yuri Chizh. We talked about their long-term contacts in one of the previous investigations. Their main joint project is just a scheme with solvents and thinners. Together with the Lithuanian investigative center Siena, we found out that on the Belarusian side, Triple company Yuri Chizh and two other companies, Triple-Energo and Belneftegaz, participated in the scam. Both are associated with a businessman Alexey Oleksin: he headed the first, and owned the second with his wife.
At that time, Oleksin worked for Chizh, and it was him attributed scheme idea with solvents and thinners.
In January 2012, at the height of this scheme, Oleksin opened the same account in a Swiss bank, which later turned out to be $ 36 million. We called the businessman to find out where he got this money from, but he refused to comment to us. In 2012 Russia stopped the scheme with solvents and thinners, and two years later Oleksin closed his account with Credit Suisse.
The paths of Chizh and Oleksin diverged. The first one is already visited twice behind bars, and the second became one of the most influential businessmen in Belarus and fell under sanctions in 2021 EU And USA like a wallet Lukashenka.