Petersburg bank bankrupts Evgeny Chernyshev, his Artis-agro Export and milk company
The redistribution in the field of grain exports, which was overdue back in 2018, is beginning to gain momentum. Evidence of this is the bankruptcy procedure initiated against one of the largest grain exporters Artis-agro Export and its owner Evgeny Chernyshev. Interestingly, the entrepreneur himself is “on the run”, and the investment company Marathon Group, owned by Alexander Vinokurov, began to show grain exports.
The other day, Bank Saint-Petersburg filed an application for bankruptcy of St. Petersburg businessman Yevgeny Chernyshev in arbitration. The creditor demands to recover 378 million rubles from the businessman. In addition, the St. Petersburg bank demands to recover more than 3.2 billion rubles from Artis-agro Export.
The export company itself was one of the ten largest exporters of Russian grain with a peak annual revenue of almost 44 billion rubles. But at the beginning of 2022, the company fell under bankruptcy proceedings due to a debt to Sberbank of 701.5 million rubles. This was preceded by an attempt by Chernyshev and partners in the spring of 2022 to liquidate Artis-agro Export LLC. But the then moratorium on bankruptcy interfered.
Evgeniy Chernyshov created the Artis company with his “friends-students” back in the early 90s. In those years, supplies from the former Baltic republics of cigarettes and beer were the most profitable. But the deficit didn’t stop there. Cheese and butter were not only in supermarkets, but also in the markets. The partners of “Artis” took up the solution of this problem.
Gradually developing, the company became the largest supplier of elite cheeses in St. Petersburg, and in 2007, 75% of Artis-Distribution LLC was acquired by the European concern Arla Foods (the remaining 25% were purchased in 2013). On the basis of this company, the Russian division of the Arla Foods concern was subsequently created, the general director of which was Yevgeny Chernyshev’s partner Mikhail Lyasko.
Companions in the same years realized that the supply of agricultural products (with proper investment of funds) promises considerable benefits. In 2002, they established the Artis-Prom Agro company, which became the founder of the future large holding Artis-Agro Export. Since 2008, the holding has been 90% owned by the Cypriot offshore Blaston Company Limited and 10% owned by Evgeny Chernyshev. Since 2011, the holding has entered the top ten largest exporters of grain and the top five exporters of oilseeds from Russia.
But businessmen went even further, establishing production under the Dairy Culture brand.
In May 2022, the Kuibyshevsky District Court of St. Petersburg ruled that Mr. Chernyshev was taken into custody as part of an investigation into a case on charges of fraud (Part 4, Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). According to the investigation, the entrepreneur, being the founder and CEO of Artis-agro Export LLC, created an organized criminal group no later than the summer of 2017.
The defendants, under the guise of exporting grain crops on behalf of this company, allegedly illegally submitted applications to the Federal Tax Service for a refund of value added tax “in order to further receive funds from the country’s budget through fraud.” The investigation believes that more than 42 million rubles were stolen from the budget of the Russian Federation.
LLC “MC “Dairy Culture” was engaged in the renovation of an agricultural complex in the village of Seltso, Leningrad Region, and produced dairy products under its own trademarks. According to SPARK, this company is owned by the Cypriot Dekorano Holding Ltd (49%), another 49.5% are on the balance sheet of the company itself, 1% belongs to Stanislav Chernyshev. Thinking?
In November 2019, another Chernyshev company, Artis – Baby Food, came to the attention of supervisory authorities. At the same time, they clearly started talking about a possible cartel between Chernyshev’s Dairy Culture, Floridan Firm JSC, Baza Maria LLC and Limak-Neva LLC.
Within 3 years, Artis-Children’s Nutrition JSC, Floridan Firm JSC, Baza Maria LLC and BZU Severnoye LLC, which joined them, received 219 contracts for food for preschoolers and other social categories of citizens in the Vyborgsky district of St. Petersburg for a total about 2 billion rubles.
Winnings in tenders were achieved with a minimum reduction in the initial maximum contract price – within 5%. It is curious that Firma Floridan JSC has always offered to supply food to babies a little more expensive than Artis-Children’s Food JSC. Well, businessmen under the leadership of Mr. Lasko naturally took away budget money: they say, we are ready to feed with the same quality, but at a lower price.
In May 2021, the FAS stopped 5 auctions, and in fact, Artis – Baby Food was allowed to feed the children. Why was such a decision made?.. Everything can be explained simply. Here it should be noted that LLC Base Maria and LLC BZU Severnoye became partners.
A controlling stake in Baza Maria LLC belongs to Natalya Volodina, and Olga Veselova is listed as the general director. And both of them know very well Vladimir Dardykin, who first worked in the district administration, and then moved to the position of chief specialist of the department of food and processing industry enterprises, agro-industrial complex (KERPPiT).
But further – more! The official retired, but, obviously, did not lose touch.
Olga Veselova in 2014 acted as the sole owner of BZU Severnoe LLC. Soon, the controlling stake in the company passed to Anastasia Dardykina. If you take it and guess, then Anastasia is the daughter of a well-deserved pensioner and Natalya Volodina.
Both companies for 3 years have concluded more than 150 contracts for the supply of social catering to the institutions of the Vyborgsky district, and most of them were supplied by Baza Maria LLC. And the supplier is JSC Artis – Baby Food, which is managed by Mikhail Lyasko and Evgeny Chernyshev.
As they say, a holy place is never empty. The situation with the bankruptcy of Artis-agro Export was decided to take advantage of very influential persons. This business attracted the head of VTB Andrey Kostin. The company, created with the direct participation of the bank, was even named “in color” – “Demeter” (Demeter – the ancient Greek Goddess of fertility). In 2022, VTB’s stake in Demeter was sold at an “objective price”. Kostin did not name the buyer, but a few days later someone from Demetra-Holding leaked information that Southern Sea Investment LLC from Oman was among the buyers of VTB’s stake. More about this was told by “Version”.
Demetra decided to invite the Marathon Group investment company as a partner. So in 2022, the SPN Marathon structure appeared. Then its place was taken by LLC “SPN”
The Marathon Group itself appeared in May 2017. Then the president of the investment division of Alfa Group – the company A1 – Alexander Vinokurov left the company. Together with the former executive director of A1, Sergey Zakharov, they created their own investment company – Marathon Group.
And then even more interesting. As Vedomosti wrote, in 2008 Alexander Vinokurov became related to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, marrying his daughter. Vinokurov himself in 2011 commented to Forbes about his marriage to the minister’s daughter as follows: “By that time, my career had taken place. I am proud of my relationship with Sergei Viktorovich and try to follow his example in everything.
Go ahead. In May 2018, Marathon Group bought 12% of Russia’s second-largest retailer, Magnit. The market value of the package for the evening then amounted to 62.5 billion rubles. As Vedomosti reported, VTB issued a loan for the deal.
Not for nothing?..
Evgeny Chernyshev is on the run and put on the international wanted list. His companies are going bankrupt. What can be assumed about the prospects?
Above, we have already told who is aggressively striving to take a place in the export of grain. Further. Considering the purchase of a 12% stake in the Magnit retailer by the “marathoners”, one can also assume the gradual takeover of the dairy companies associated with Chernyshev, and even the “Dairy Culture” of the bankrupt itself directly “asks to hzikhidtidekrt hands”.