Source What moves are used by contractors of Rosseti and GUP TEK, and why Russians are not protected from the extortions of resource companies. In St. Petersburg, Federal Security Service officers have been “spinning” local energy companies since last year, who allegedly may have stolen millions of rubles by overstating estimates. The case involves contractors from reputable companies such as Rosseti and GUP TEK. Perhaps, the main intrigue is as follows: to what extent fan inspections, searches, seizure of documents and joint investigations by St. Petersburg and federal security services will affect the legal status of not only “contractor” businessmen but also high-ranking “energy” officials.
The “Energetics case” is being handled by St. Petersburg and federal officers of the department “P” (counter-intelligence support in the fight against corruption in the industrial sphere) of the Economic Security Service (SEB) of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia. The substantive actions began last year, namely searches and document seizures at several contracting companies that represented the interests of SUE TEK and PJSC Rosseti. Since the organizations did not only have a St. Petersburg address, colleagues from the central office of the Federal Security Service, as well as “economic” police officers from St. Petersburg and Moscow, actively cooperated and continue to do so with the St. Petersburg Chekists.
Fifteen year scheme
It is important to note that the St Petersburg cases started with national cases. They served, in many ways, as a bridge. According to the Interior Ministry, the criminal scheme, which involved several Russian regions, was put into action in 2004, and during this time about 10 billion rubles disappeared somewhere. The police detained and later arrested 11 high-ranking suspects and seized assets worth 9 billion.
The security services and the police suspect that the fraud scheme, in which far more than 11 people were involved, operated from 2004 to 2019. That makes a whole 15 years. Under the scrutiny of law enforcers were various structures and contractors who carried out the orders of Russian Grids. First of all, Mezhregionsoyuzenergo, headed by Eldar Osmanov, Yury Shulgin and Bagrat Katalyants. This company, in turn, had controlled subsidiaries in various regions. The scheme was quite simple: the company contributed money to the share capital of third parties at the expense of JSCB Mosuralbank (it gave technical loans and was a captive company), concluded agreements of assignment of rights of claim and provided promissory notes. The FSB and the Interior Ministry believe that this is a typical “laundering” scheme with elements of bribe-taking. The scheme, intelligence operatives believe, resulted in funds being transferred to the accounts of private individuals who had only a formal relationship with the country’s energy system – including commercial contractor organizations that didn’t actually perform any work. Consequently, there were payables to counterparties, which were repaid solely at the expense of electricity consumers, i.e. ordinary Russians.
So, name by name, the following people have been arrested on suspicion of particularly large-scale fraud: these are the former heads of PJSC Arkhenergosbyt, PJSC Vologdaenergosbyt, JSC Roskommunenergo, JSC Khakasenergosbyt and PJSC Chelyabenergosbyt Ilya Shulgin, Elizaveta Sakhno, Ilya Vorochev and Vadim Litvinov, Elena Dormidonova, Vladimir Gailit, Nikolai Korneev, former manager of Mosuralbank, Svetlana Nikodimova, member of the Board of Directors of this organisation, and Ilya Rosseychuk, general director of M-Steel.
It should be noted that not only law enforcers, but also the Ministry of Energy together with the financial intelligence service took part in the investigation of these numerous criminal cases, which have not reached the court yet.
Due to the collected data, understanding of the schemes used by unscrupulous energy companies, in St. Petersburg the FSB SEB and the Economic Police took a close look at the local core market. According to the VchK-OGPU telegram channel, the St. Petersburg FSB Directorate is now conducting a massive inspection and seizure of documents at SUE TEK and its contractors. The source claims that “between 2015 and 2021, a major contractor of the SUE, SK Set-Energo LLC, managed to steal more than 500 million rubles after being awarded contracts worth more than 2.5 billion rubles. The actual management of the organization was performed by A. A. Novikov and O. V. Ivanov. The work under the government contracts was not performed in full, but in addition to that, overpriced estimates were used, and composite estimates were included, in which part of the work was not performed at all. Such triple “savings” allowed the organizers of the criminal scheme to withdraw through the accounts of legal entities under their control one fifth of all the funds received. Of course, this would not have been possible without the active complicity of a number of individuals from the management of SUE TEK. Currently, operational activities have established that the orders to the bogus leaders of the firms in the money laundering chain were given personally by the organizers: Ivanov and Novikov. Apparently they will become the main defendants in the criminal case under the fourth paragraph of article 159 of the Criminal Code (especially large-scale fraud).
Is this true? The St. Petersburg FSB would not comment officially, offering to wait for specifics. But unofficially, it’s true – “The reports from the profile channel may be considered very close to the truth. An officer of the State Security Service told Our Version’s correspondent that in this case, “banal embezzlement is suspected in the St. Petersburg energy sector; it is very primitive, and therefore brazen these days, and funds have been cashed through various contractors in Moscow and the Northwest region.
The source in SUE “Fuel and Energy Complex” told our correspondent that “searches have really taken place”, “we, middle management, do not know much about the scale”, “the situation is jumpy, many run from the ship, but it concerns the top, so what do we care”.
How overpayments happen
On the account of energy companies from State Unitary Enterprise “Fuel and Energy Complex”, I remember the author talked to Elena Panina, politician, activist, lawyer and mathematician. She mathematically substantiated that St. Petersburg residents overpay for heat by several times. Here are her thoughts and, more importantly, the proofs of the classic scheme exactly ten years ago: “It all started when the State Unitary Enterprise “TEK” charged one of the housing and communal services for heat supply to a house in… 23.4 million rubles. How could the residents owe such an astronomical sum? To figure it out, they turned to me as a specialist lawyer. I found out in the end that the standard contract that the SUE “FEC” signs with homeowners associations (HOA), housing maintenance companies and management companies (MC), obliges citizens to pay according to the rates provided for… Legal persons…. And according to the Civil Code, homeowners have to pay for communal services as individuals. It turns out that each gigacalorie costs the people more than the one they are supposed to pay by 200 rubles. The residents went to arbitration, demanding that the monopolist recalculate the rates. Only the fourth court decided that the tenants were right. But it did!”.
Yes, there was a happy ending, but now all Russians are in no way protected from the extortions of resource companies. Only professionals can make sense of the gigacalories and so on. Let’s see how good the competence of the Petersburg Checkers is, they are obviously looking for breaches in the armour of regional energy monopolists. It is also intriguing how long the competent authorities can keep their hands off the top executives of GUP Fuel and Energy Complex and Rosseti Lenenergo, the people with lots of connections.
By the way
Another St. Petersburg resource organization, constantly getting into scandals – EIRTS Petroelektrosbyt, which supplies light to homes. For example, last year in May city residents were surprised to notice an “extra” line for a capital repair in the receipt. There were about five thousand such “mistakes”, many Petersburgers paid the capital repair bill twice without understanding it. Of course, it is noteworthy that such “misunderstandings” for some reason never happen in favour of ordinary consumers.