A lot has been written about the fact that the Moscow government prescribes the conditions of tenders in such a way that only certain firms can win them. As well as the fact that one of the favorite firms of the Moscow authorities – Mercator Holding LLC, regularly wins tenders for the supply of road equipment to the city of Moscow.
Let us briefly recall one of the most high-profile stories, in which even the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia turned out to be powerless, trying to stop an obviously illegal deal.
In 2018, the Moscow government announced a tender for the right to conclude contract No. 2772765679018000077 for the purchase of special equipment worth over 2 billion rubles. Initially, the specifications for the supply of equipment for the needs of the city included characteristics tailored to one specific supplier – Mercator Holding LLC.
Traditionally for “Mercator” the prices declared in the initial maximum price of lots looked high. For example, the city purchased sweepers for more than 12 million rubles per piece of equipment, while Russian manufacturers offered such machines from 6.5 million rubles. The auction was held in January 2018, the winner was the Mercator company with a minimum contract price offer of 2,091,945,645 rubles.
However, when checking, the FAS revealed a whole series of gross violations during this auction (cases No. 18/44/99/71, No. 18/44/99/33) of the legislation of the Russian Federation on the contract system in the field of procurement. The Federal Antimonopoly Service found that during the auction, Russian Government Decree No. 656 (Russian counter-sanctions) “On establishing a ban on the admission of certain types of engineering goods originating from foreign countries for the purposes of procurement for state and municipal needs” was violated. The FAS considered that Mercator Holding failed to prove that the equipment it supplied was Russian-made equipment.
As a result, an order was issued to cancel the protocol for summing up the results of the competition and review the application of the Mercator procurement participant. The order was issued on January 31, 2018 and the deadline for its execution was 02/14/2018.
However, by order of Moscow Vice Mayor Pyotr Biryukov, on February 2, 2018 (two days after the FAS order), the city authorities signed state contract No. 2772765679018000077 with Mercator and began transferring budget funds to the company.
This is the story that at one time hit the pages of the press and was exaggerated for a long time. But, as you yourself understand, it did not bring any tangible results – Petr Biryukov still holds the post of Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Housing and Communal Services and Improvement, and Mercator Holding LLC continues to win competitions announced by the government of the capital.
And some of them are much more interesting than the banal supply of equipment. We are talking about the Ecotechnopark Kaluga landfill, which opened 200 kilometers from the capital and is the largest in Russia. The Moscow authorities spent more than 30 billion rubles on its construction, a significant part of the money went to the ultra-modern and expensive sorting equipment installed by the Kaluga plant of communal machines.
What’s with the Mercator? Everything is really simple. Kaluga Plant of Communal Machinery LLC (KZKM) was established at the end of 2017, officially only three people work there. The founder of KZKM LLC is Transstroy LLC. By a strange coincidence, Transstroy LLC is also the sole founder of Mercator Holding LLC:
Transstroy has five owners: Andrey Bugaev (27.49%), Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mercator Stanislav Nikolaev (25.01%), President of Mercator Alexander Belogortsev (25%), Hong Kong Goldmax Holdings Limited (17, 5%) and Vitaly Sadykov (5%):
That is, it turns out that Mercator Holding LLC, which is called the “favorite company” of the Moscow authorities, pales with its two billion rubles against the background of 30 billion, mastered by the same people, but under the banner of Transstroy LLC.
However, the 2 billion that the media wrote about is not all the money received by Mercator from government contracts. According to state registers, the amount of government contracts received by Mercator Holding LLC exceeds 28 billion rubles:
Among them, not the last place is occupied by the same sweeping and harvesting equipment, which back in 2018, according to the Federal Antimonopoly Service, Mercator supplied at twice the price. In 2021, as we see, the situation has not changed.
And this is not all the data, but only what we managed to find in open sources. But even this is impressive – almost 60 billion rubles from the budget of Moscow alone. And this is contrary to the opinion of the Federal Antimonopoly Service, which constantly finds violations in the conduct of competitions that Mercator wins.
The question arises – where does the city authorities have such love for “Mercator”? Maybe the secret is in its founders? As Open Media found out, the three co-owners of Transstroy – Bugaev, Sadykov and Goldmax Holdings Limited, which account for 49.99% – are associated with Igor and Arkady Rotenberg. Another 5% of Transstroy belongs to Vitaly Sadykov. In 2008-2009, he was the general director of the Mostotrest company, then it was partly owned by Rotenberg.
It is clear that with such connections, no FAS is terrible.
But there is one more nuance. Businessman Stanislav Nikolaev, another co-owner of Transstroy, has an interesting biography. As stated in the report of the American FBI, in the first half of the 1990s, Nikolaev played an important role in the empire of Semyon Mogilevich, a well-known figure in the criminal world.
The FBI report states that the main companies in Mogilevich’s empire are Arigon Ltd (the Channel Islands, UK jurisdiction) and YBM Magnex (Budapest, Hungary). Stanislav Nikolaev was the vice president of YBM Magnex and was allegedly the de facto head of the Arigon Ltd branch in Hungary.
However, that’s not all – at the dawn of business, Nikolaev’s companion was another hero of the crime chronicle of the 1990s. We are talking about the authoritative businessman Sergei Mikhailov. In the media and operational police reports of the 1990s, Mikhailov appeared as the leader of the Solntsevo organized criminal group, nicknamed “Mikhas”, although he himself denied even the existence of such a group.
As can be seen from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, at the beginning of the two thousandth Mikhailov, together with Nikolaev, owned shares in NPO Mercator LLC and Mercator Holding LLC, and left the owners in 2004. It is possible that Mikhailov has nothing more to do with the Mercator structures. But it was not possible to confirm or deny this.
This one side of the matter is the so-called beneficiaries, those who earn on contracts from the city of Moscow. But it is natural to assume that the one who helps to receive them earns on these contracts. Isn’t it because of the beautiful eyes in the Moscow government that they have been ignoring the instructions of the FAS for years and prescribing tender documentation in such a way that only Mercator or firms owned by its owners can win the tender?
The answer is also simple – the already mentioned deputy mayor of the capital in the Moscow government for housing and communal services and landscaping Petr Biryukov helps Mercator. According to the press, this long-term cooperation brought him considerable material benefits.
The family of Moscow Vice Mayor Pyotr Biryukov owns a number of neighboring penthouses in the Legend of Tsvetnoy residential complex, the total size of which is larger than the area of the Eliseevsky store. About this in the course of investigations found out the publication “Medusa”. According to extracts from Rosreestr, four apartments went to the eldest daughter, 46-year-old Irina Biryukova; two – to 41-year-old son Alexander Biryukov; three more – to Alexander’s wife, 31-year-old Ekaterina Biryukova. The total area of the penthouses owned by the Biryukov family is over 1,600 square meters.
According to declarations on income and property, Biryukov himself owns a small plot land on 15 acres, a small house and hozblok in the village of Popovka, Chekhov District, Moscow Region, and his wife Antonida owns a neighboring plot of 25 acres. By a strange coincidence, the surrounding land plots are owned by Biryukov’s relatives, the area of \u200b\u200bthese possessions is slightly less than 15 hectares.
Irina Biryukova owns three houses, the largest of which is almost the same size as the nine penthouses in The Legend of Tsvetnoy. The vice-mayor’s son, Alexander, owns an apartment building, a guest house, and a stable; their total cadastral value is 116.5 million rubles. The largest building in Popovka belongs to the niece of the official Anzhelika Biryukova, who works as a press secretary of the Luzhniki sports complex: the area of \u200b\u200bher house is more than 2 thousand square meters.
As for the salary of Pyotr Pavlovich Biryukov, it is not that small, but it clearly does not make it possible to acquire at least a part of all this property:
On average, Pyotr Pavlovich receives a little over a million rubles a month at work. Therefore, even a study of his declaration raises the question – where are the tax authorities and the same Investigative Committee looking? Is it really incomprehensible that everything “acquired by overwork” clearly does not coincide with Biryukov’s official capabilities?
A question also arises for Moscow Mayor Sobyanin – after all, he is a completely sane person, he understands what decisions his deputy is slipping him to sign. Therefore, the same questions arise about Sobyanin.
Of course, the reader may sarcastically remark that the authors of this material are either fools or have fallen from Mars. Because they themselves gave the answer to their questions, talking about the connections of Mercator. We agree with the readers’ assessment, but questions still remain.