In the case of the ruin of VIM-Avia, Svetlana and Rashid Mursekaev, the “trump interest” of the daughter of the owners Anna Mursekaeva (Ambrosova) and their son-in-law Nikolai Ambrosov surfaced. For several years, the Ambrosov company participated in a fuel scheme that smacks of a scam. The Ambrosov spouses today are trying to bring to justice the bankruptcy trustee of the air company. The Moscow Post correspondent understood the story.
As the correspondent of The Moscow Post managed to find out from the base of the Moscow Arbitration Court, in which the bankruptcy case of the Mursekaev couple is being heard, the Migration Department of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia requested information and documents on Ambrosova (Mursekaeva) A.R. At the end of September, these evidence should be considered during the next hearing. What exactly the financial manager wants to find out is not yet known, but it is worth noting that interest in the daughter and son-in-law of the owners of VIM-Avia does not arise for the first time. In this almost detective story of the collapse of the air carrier, Nikolai Ambrosov was already surfacing. As well as business partner Rashid Mursekaev – Sergey Galan, who intersected with the business of the Ambrosov couple.
Moreover, in August 2023, in court, the bankruptcy trustee of VIM-Avia again raised the story of the resale of jet fuel at an inflated price. In the transaction, which lasted since 2015, affiliated companies were involved under the control of Ambrosov and Mursekaev, and the bankruptcy trustee estimated the damage at 117 million rubles.
But before moving on to this part of the scandalous story of VIM-Avia, we will recall a little the background of the carrier itself, without which the “portrait” will not be complete.
How VIM-Avia was ruined
In 2018, VIM-Avia Airlines LLC, created in 2002 by Honored Pilot Viktor Ivanovich Merkulov (VIM is from his initials), was declared bankrupt. The asset registered in the Rich Sabas of Tatarstan, which is ruled by the brother of the head of the Republic Rustam Minnikhanov – Rais, has already been brought to the handle by new owners.
The owners of the asset, which became famous for the systematic many hours of delays in regular and charter flights on domestic and international routes, as well as multimillion-dollar wage arrears, have been the married couple of Rashid and Svetlana Mursekaev since 2005.
But, judging by the reports of the bankruptcy trustee, since 2013 things have been very sad and, in his opinion, “deliberately allowed distortion of the indicators of the financial statements, including in terms of overestimating the indicators of balance sheet assets.”
Instead of resolving the situation or filing for bankruptcy, the company, until 2017, when creditors had already initiated an insolvency case, turned into very strange manipulations. As a result, they formed the basis of the criminal case, in which Rashid Mursekaev himself became a defendant. But unlike his subordinates, the main person involved disappeared and back in 2017 was put on the international wanted list.
The criminal case was initiated on the fact of the deliberate bankruptcy of VIM-AVIA Airlines LLC.
According to investigators, knowing that the company is in an unstable financial and economic state, the defendants in 2016-2017 entered into clearly unprofitable transactions, including those aimed at withdrawing assets abroad in favor of affiliated organizations. At the same time, in a number of transactions with foreign firms, the exact price of the transaction did not even appear and as a result, the amounts paid in fact increased many times. In addition, multibillion-dollar loans were issued for the airline to close debts. To obtain them, the financial indicators in the documents were distorted.
In 2021, the verdict was passed on former general director Alexander Kochnev and former chief accountant Ekaterina Panteleeva. As the Kommersant newspaper reported, the verdict struck with its leniency and, taking into account those already served under arrest in the pre-trial detention center, the defendants were released right in the courtroom.
Today, both Svetlana and Rashid Mursekaevs are also bankrupt as individuals. During the process, the search and sale of their property is underway.
Fuel operation “Y” and other “adventures” of the Mursekayevs
Another episode of the criminal case was also investigated in 2017. Investigators noted that we are talking about the theft of funds from passengers who sailed away from VIM-Avia through transactions to purchase jet fuel at an inflated price from 2015 to 2017.
The report of the Investigative Committee then mentioned that it was about transactions with controlled companies. But in the names of the defendants, which were mentioned in that message, there are not enough at least two. Let’s try to fill this gap.
The deal to sell jet fuel appears in a number of documents that are in the bankruptcy case of the airline. Moreover, for several years in a row, the bankruptcy trustee has been trying to bring to justice for the debts of the company not only their former top managers and owners, but also Anna Rashidovna Mursekaeva (Ambrosova) and Nikolai Ambrosov – the daughter and son-in-law of the owners, respectively. Moreover, in March 2022, the property of this married couple was seized as interim measures – for the amount of the claim, more than 20.7 billion rubles.
In August 2023, the bankruptcy trustee in the VIM-Avia case also tried to return to the issue of terminating the fuel deal and applying the consequences, demanding to reconsider the early verdict. The defendants were the Ambrosov couple.
As a basis for revising the judicial act, the bankruptcy trustee pointed to the verdict of the Meshchansky District Court of Moscow, which found that “the transaction for the purchase of aviation fuel was made between affiliates at an inflated price, which caused harm to society in the amount of at least 117 817 514,25 rubles.”
On August 22, the results of the examination will have to be heard in the case, on which the fate of the Ambrosovs largely depends. An expert appointed by the court will have to answer two questions: What are the reasons for the change in the financial condition of the airline from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2017, as well as what facts of economic life had the greatest impact on the change in financial condition.
So, what side in the history of ruin were the son-in-law and daughter of the Mursekaevs? The fact is that it was Nikolai Ambrosov, and later his wife, who owned the Fusion Trading International company, which appeared in the transaction for the sale of jet fuel.
In January 2015, VIM-Avia signed a petroleum product supply agreement, which was later repeatedly extended. In the materials of one of the litigation initiated by Svetlana Mursekaeva, as a representative of VIM-Avia, after it smelled fried, it was noted that the total supply amounted to 27,880 tons of fuel for a total of 3 621 725 250 rubles.
The amount has been paid in full. It is funny that in 2019 the mother-in-law in court tried to invalidate the transaction, indicating that at the time of its conclusion the defendant was controlled by N.E. Ambrosov, who was the husband of Mursekaev’s daughter R.M. Ambrosova A.R. and, they say, “the terms of the contested fuel price transactions did not correspond to market prices for the relevant goods and services.” By itself, Svetlana Mursekaeva’s lawsuit against her son-in-law, filed in 2019, that is, after the bankruptcy of VIM-Avia and the initiation of a criminal case on the episode, was strange. Or an attempt to mitigate guilt, or a new round of withdrawal of funds, do not undertake to judge. This plaintiff lost the dispute, but the details of the flight design were revealed by the bankruptcy trustee in September 2021 and the role of Svetlana Mursekaeva in it began to play with new colors.
As follows from the manager’s statement, in September 2014, the head of the legal department Manyukhin was instructed to prepare documents for the registration of a certain Fuel Trading International LLC, whose participants were to be Anna and Nikolai Ambrosov.
According to Rusprofile, the company was registered on September 17, 2014.
According to the bankruptcy trustee, the activities of this company and Technopolis LLC, which in those years belonged to VIM-Avia Airlines LLC and Rashid Mursekaev, consisted in the purchase of fuel from Lukoil and Brokeroil and the subsequent resale of fuel at a higher price of VIM-Avia. The manager believes the scheme existed from 2015 to September 2017. And at the same time, according to him, it was Svetlana Mursekaeva, as her husband’s deputy, who kept the accounts of the above intermediaries.
To date, Fusion Trading International LLC has already been liquidated and before this was done, the asset from Nikolai and Anna Ambrosov was transferred to Sergei Galan, who, also after Rashid Mursekaev, was listed as the owner and second participant in the fuel transaction – Technopolis LLC (was also the director of the now bankrupt Premier Oil LLC, which today owns the company “Technopolis”). Galan is a longtime business partner of Mursekaev and was also the head of VIM-Avia Tours LLC, which was owned by Mursekaev Rashid Maviyaevich and Fenenko Yuri Vyacheslavovich (co-founder of the SKP-KPSS International Union, where Gennady Zyuganov is listed among the creators).
That is, what happened: the Mursekaevs and Ambrosovs for several years participated in the resale of the VIM-Avia fuel, and when the story formed the basis of the criminal case, they threw off the ballast, selling it to a confidant. The same, in turn, the company swooped. It seems like ends in the water.
Traces of offshore companies in the case
It would seem that what is easier is to find the money received by liquidated firms and withdraw it to the competitive mass of the air company. But there is one “but.” Such a scheme will work if the money is not withdrawn from the country. And some facts suggest that this could well have been done.
The first offshore registered in Liechtenstein was in the biography of VIM-Avia itself. Some time ago, Hercules Partners Gemini Foundation II had a stake in the company. But it is not this offshore that is interesting to us, but another one opened thanks to the Panama Dossier – ALOMA S.A, registered in Luxembourg. The beneficiary of this asset, also associated with The Bearer, is a certain Nikolai Ambrosov (Nikolay AMBROSOV) – the namesake of the Mursekaev’s son-in-law. It is known from the same dossier that the company had an account with the French bank CREDIT AGRICOLE. Did VIM-Avia billions go through it?
Speaking of a son-in-law, it will not be superfluous to remind that Nikolai Ambrosov is the son of Yevgeny Ambrosov, who may be Mursekaev’s long-time business partner. The fact is that both of them in the 2000s included the top management of the Far Eastern Shipping Company. That is, Mursekaev had every reason to trust Ambrosov Jr. with his capital. After all, long-standing connections.
Another offshore in the VIM-Avia case is Riven Business Services, registered in the British Virgin Islands. The company owns Largo Media LLC. The promissory notes of the company with this name at one time, judging by the data of the bankruptcy trustee, were paid to banks on billion-dollar loans to VIM-Avia, taken during the period of financial problems. At the same time, as the manager reported, it was found that Largo Media has signs of an organization that does not conduct real business, and its bills are illiquid securities.
Unfortunately, it was not possible to find out who was behind the offshore company that owns Largo Media, but the defendants tried to cut this string – in August 2021 the company was liquidated.
There is a bewilderment why, with such introductory ones, the names of the Mursekaev’s son-in-law and daughter still do not appear in the criminal case? Where does Sledkom look?