The plaintiff assures that he is not under sanctions and is not connected with the Government of the Russian Federation. Octagon found the alleged applicant in the inner circle of the authoritative Ural oligarch Vitaly Kochetkov and found out that he is one of the beneficiaries of the Motiv mobile operator.
Superyacht Phi was detained in the territorial waters of the UK as part of the implementation of anti-Russian sanctions in March last year. The fast aluminum vessel, worth around £38m, is the third largest yacht built by Royal Huisman. It has, among other things, a wine cellar and a fresh water pool.
In an article dedicated to the special operation, the Financial Times reported that the yacht belongs to the owner of the Motiv telecom operator, Vitaly Kochetkov. Formally, it is registered with the Portsmouth Maritime company, registered in the state of Saint Kitts and Nevis, located in the eastern Caribbean Sea and consisting of two islands. Russian businessman Sergei Naumenko was named the nominal owner.
During the detention of the vessel at the docks in east London, Grant Shapps, who at that time was the head of the British Ministry of Transport, called the yacht an “icon of Russian power” and recorded a video on TikTok in which he stated that the owner of Phi was an “oligarch and comrade” of politicians from Russia. In August 2022, the British newspaper The Sunday Times talked about a lawsuit filed by Sergei Naumenko against Grant Shapps. According to the publication, the plaintiff, among other things, accused the official of slander.
On the eve of the London newspaper Daily Mail published an article about the beginning of the preliminary consideration of the claim of Sergei Naumenko in the High Court of London. The judge heard arguments from lawyers representing the plaintiff and current Transportation Secretary Mark Harper. A hearing on the merits is scheduled for July.
Bay on Nevis
The Octagon found out that the plaintiff, who appears in the court documents as Sergei Georgievich Naumenko, is most likely Vitaly Kochetkov’s closest business partner. The main asset of the latter is the telecommunications company Motiv based in Yekaterinburg. It is registered in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities as a legal entity of Ekaterinburg-2000 LLC.
32% of the asset belongs to the British company Glenfield Management Limited Liability Partnership. According to the UK commercial register, it has two members – Amerton Group Limited and Sheraton Business Limited registered on the island of Nevis. Sergey Naumenko, a Russian citizen born in August 1961, is listed as a person with significant control with a right to 25-50 percent of the excess assets of a British enterprise. He acquired this status in November 2021 and thus became one of the beneficiaries of Motive.
Glenfield Management Limited Liability Partnership has exercised the right not to publish a full accounting report on the conduct of business, so it is impossible to judge the volume of cash flows through the enterprise. International corporate consulting firms explain that UK entities with the legal form of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) are not themselves taxpayers in the UK. The obligation to pay taxes arises only from their participants. However, if the participants of such firms are registered offshore, then they can avoid such an obligation.
In the Russian environment of Vitaly Kochetkov, there is only one partner, whose name, surname and patronymic completely match the data of the person who filed a lawsuit against the British government. Previously, Sergei Georgievich Naumenko was listed as the founder of three Yekaterinburg construction companies. Currently, he holds the position of director of the Ekaterinburg OOO Euromarket, the main activity of which is “the activity of agents for the wholesale trade in a universal range of goods.” In the registration data, the address (email protected) linked to the website of the Motiv company is indicated as the company’s e-mail.
The same e-mail address is given in the registration data of many other enterprises of Kochetkov. The key one is Fininvest LLC. As Octagon previously reported, in 2020, the British firm Glenton Projects owned a 95 percent stake in the company. Its participants were Amerton Group Limited and Sheraton Business Limited, and Vitaly Kochetkov himself was the beneficiary. Moreover, in the UK commercial register, Kochetkov was recorded as the holder of a Cypriot passport.
Another connection is the presence of Oleg Onegin among the founders of Euromarket. The latter also acts as a co-owner of the Rusbusinessnews agency associated with the Kochetkov team.
Octagon tried to get a comment from representatives of Euromarket LLC, but it was not possible to get through to the phone number indicated in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities.
Among the enterprises associated with Amerton Group Limited and Sheraton Business Limited, there are other unexpected faces. Legal entities from the island of Nevis are members of the British company Eurolab Services LLP. The Ukrainian businessman Andrey Palchevsky is listed as the beneficiary of the latter in the UK commercial register.
Open sources say that Palchevsky is the founder and financial director of the Eurolab clinic. In 2010, he served as First Deputy Minister of Ukraine for Family, Youth and Sports. In 2020, he ran for the mayor of Kyiv. At the same time, the politician headed the Palchevsky Victory party.
Andrey Palchevsky maintains blogs in which he uses extremely rude language against President Vladimir Putin and the Russian authorities in general.
money for elections
The team of Vitaliy Kochetkov needs additional funding today more than ever. As Oktagon previously wrote, its representatives registered to participate in the primaries in a number of single-member constituencies for elections to the Yekaterinburg City Duma.
Currently, Kochetkov controls the majority of votes in the municipal parliament. But his team has not achieved its main goal – to establish control over the largest municipal enterprise Vodokanal – over the past five years since the last election. In this regard, the businessman is interested in maintaining influence on city politics for the next five years.
Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev agreed on a list of candidates that would guarantee equal representation in the next convocation of all elite groups represented in Yekaterinburg.
However, Kochetkov’s associates moved forward in some constituencies reserved for other politicians.
The most striking example is the nomination for the primaries in district No. 19 against the leader of the group of communal businessmen Alexei Vikharev, the current deputy Timofey Zhukov. The head of the region criticized the latter for disseminating unreliable information about the deliberate arson of the Ural forests by unknown persons.
In district No. 21, which is assigned to the head physician of the Sverdlovsk Regional Dental Clinic Marina Kharitonova on the governor’s list, the entrepreneur will support the current deputy from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Andrei Pirozhkov.
The interlocutors of the publication expect that representatives of Kochetkov will push the agreed candidates in a number of other districts both during the primaries and in the main elections. It is assumed that some of them will be nominated by opposition parties.
Yekaterinburg Mayor Alexei Orlov was unable to resist the plans of Kochetkov’s team and, if successful, the latter risks losing control over the next convocation of the City Duma.