Has the nomination of the mayor of Moscow for a third term confused the cards of his ambitious subordinates?
Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin was the first to receive registration from the electoral commission as a candidate for the post of mayor of the capital. Decisions on the remaining contenders for participation in the September elections by the Moscow City Electoral Commission must be made before July 17. Previously, political analysts predicted Sobyanin’s resignation with his subsequent promotion to federal deputy prime minister or even head of the cabinet, naming young representatives of the mayor’s team, such as Maxim Liksutov or Vladimir Efimov, as possible successors. Sobyanin’s nomination for a third term could confuse the cards of potential applicants for a seemingly vacant post, including vice-mayor Natalia Sergunina, who enjoys the confidence of the mayor and has been working in the Moscow government since 2010, overseeing such key areas as economic politicians and property and land relations, as well as established close contacts with representatives of large metropolitan businesses. In particular, Sergunina has repeatedly lobbied for the interests of the Capital Group development holding, with the chairman of the Board of Directors of which Pavel Te, she is allegedly connected by personal relations. It is known that in 2016 the Moscow mayor’s office bought the premises in the Oko tower in Moscow City from Capital Group to accommodate three departments, paying 14.3 billion rubles for them. Later, 135 parking spaces were purchased for 1 billion in the same business center. Also, Cho-controlled structures took part in the capital’s renovation program. Despite Sergunina’s official lack of expensive real estate, the official’s assets can be registered with relatives – sister Irina Safanieva and her husband Lazar Safaniyev, who changed his name to Aaron Eliezer Aronov after receiving an Israeli passport. On Aronov-Safaniev, commercial structures affiliated with offshore companies were registered at different times, the profits of which could be withdrawn abroad. In addition, there was information that, through the mediation of Sergunina, the Safaniyevs were buying up Moscow real estate at a reduced cost.
Sobyanin’s nomination: is the team disappointed?
Preparations for the September mayoral elections are in full swing in Moscow: last Monday, the city election commission officially registered the first candidate. It turned out to be, of course, the promoter “United Russia”acting mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
How informs RIA Novosti, 12 people nominated candidates for the post of mayor: six self-nominees and six representatives of parliamentary parties. Among the potential competitors of Sobyanin are the vice-speakers of the State Duma Boris Chernyshov (LDPR) And Vladislav Davankov (“New people”), first deputy head of the Duma faction “Fair Russia – For Truth” Dmitry Gusev and member of the bureau of the Moscow City Committee CPRF Leonid Zyuganov (grandson of the elderly leader of the Russian Communists). It is specified that decisions on the remaining contenders for participation in the elections will be made before July 17.
Meanwhile, political analysts have repeatedly predicted the resignation of Sobyanin, who has held the mayor’s office since October 2010, and his subsequent promotion. Among the possible options were named, including posts prime minister and first vice premier. In the context of the topic of the expected transfer of power and the presidential elections in 2024, there was even a “sacred” word “successor”. True, closer to the elections, experts began analyze the situation is somewhat different: they say, the same Mikhail Mishustin feels quite confident and is not going to leave his post, and all other options cannot be called promotion. In other words, Sobyanin will have to stay.
But the current state of affairs may not suit some of the mayor’s subordinates, who expected to take the vacant mayor’s office with his departure. There are plenty of such “young and ambitious” people. For example, on the network called names deputy mayors Maxim Liksutov And Vladimir Efimovresponsible for the road sector and the economic block, respectively.
But these political “heavyweights” of the capital scale may not withstand competition from Natalia Sergunina– Deputy Sobyanin, head of the apparatus of the mayor’s office and the government of Moscow. Sergunina has been vice-mayor since October 2010, she led the Department of City Property, oversaw key issues of economic politicians and property and land relations. Most importantly, during this time, the 44-year-old divorced blonde was able to establish close contacts with representatives of large metropolitan businesses.
Personal and business interests of Vice Mayor Sergunina
The story of the purchase of 55 thousand square meters of real estate in the tower by the capital’s mayor’s office became widely known “Eye”located in the business center “Moscow City”. The transaction took place in July 2016; official need for new office space explained plans to accommodate three departments there: city property, economic politicians and competitive politicians (tender committee).
By information “Kommersant”, initially the mayor’s office planned to buy out much smaller areas – 30 thousand “squares”, emphasizing that in the future this will bring annual savings to the budget in the amount of about 54 million rubles. But the officials, apparently, got a taste of it, laying out for almost twice the “square”14.3 billion. And two years later, in March 2018, the media reported on the purchase by the municipality for 1 billion rubles 135 parking spaces in the same place, in Moscow City, and seller company registered in Cyprus Fuderin trading & investments limited.
To whom exactly and from whose suggestion the administration of Mr. Sobyanin provides preferences is well known today. The fact is that the construction of the Oko tower and the subsequent sale of the premises was carried out by a development holding “Capital Group”, chairman Board of Directors of which is a native of Uzbekistan of Korean origin Pavel Cho. A year before the deal with the municipality, the press wrote about problems with the occupancy of the “tower”:
Simply put, the deal with the mayor’s office allowed Capital Group not only to ensure occupancy, but also to make good money. By the way, the holding received budgetary support more than once: the aforementioned Cypriot offshore “Fuderin trading & investments limited” also turned out to be structure Capital Group. In addition, Pavel Te actively participated in the capital’s renovation program. Through Cyprus offshoreEsazione Capital Ltd. And Evalaro Trading & Investments Ltd at the end of 2017, the businessman installed control above MFS-PIK LLC (previously part of the group “PEAK” Sergei Gordeev), received from the Moscow Housing Renovation Fund contracts for a total of 778.8 million rubles.
The main lobbyist for the financial interests of Capital Group in the Moscow government is Natalia Sergunina, who attributed tender romantic relationship with Pavel Cho. Portal “Moment of Truth” right pointed out on the official as a person who contributed to the successful conclusion of a multi-billion dollar real estate deal in the Oko tower.
It is not surprising that it was precisely by close acquaintance with the developer that journalists explain Sergunina has expensive jewelry, which she could hardly have bought with her official salary. It was, among other things, about the necklace and ring of the French brand Van Cleef & Arpels,cost more than in 42 thousand dollars.
Aaron Aaronov withdraws finances offshore?
However, the romantic blonde Sergunina is not as simple as it might seem at first glance. The media have long paid attention to the family ties of the vice-mayor, and specifically to the sister of the official Irina Safanieva (nee – Sergunin). Irina’s husband Lazar Telmitovich Safanievafter receiving the Israeli citizenship changed name to Aaron Eliezer Aronovuntil recently acted founder a number of Russian commercial structures.
In particular, he was one of co-owners specializing in business and management consulting OOO “Genome Ventures”. At the end of last year, this company declared revenue in the amount 7.5 million and profit in 192 thousand rubles. For comparison: a year earlier, revenue amounted to 11 millionprofit – 4.5 million rubles.
Another asset that Safaniev-Aronov was related to is engaged in the activities of holding companies OOO “Genome Ventures”. This firm has financial indicators much more modest: revenue in 2022 – 12 millionprofit – 922 thousand rubles.
Prior to this, the enterprise worked exclusively “in the red”: its losses in 2021 amounted to 11.6 millionin 2020 – 10.5 millionin 2019 – 34 million rubles etc.
“Genome Ventures” and “Genome Ventures” are also interesting because their official co-owner is Alexander Stalievich Voloshin – former head of administration and “grey eminence” of the president Boris Yeltsin. The business of Voloshin and his now de jure former partner Aronov is directly or indirectly connected with a number of offshore structures, to whose accounts the profits of unprofitable enterprises can be withdrawn.
For example, which became in March last year CEO “Genome Ventures” Dmitry Kreynes previously supervised currently liquidated companies “Licensed Content” And “Sferik Consulting”owned, respectively, by Cypriot offshore companies Nessly Holdings Limited And CampobassoInvest ltd”. About “Nessly Holdings Limited” on the web can be found information as a structure with which Mail.Ru Group tried to circumvent the legislation of Ukraine, which banned access to a number of Russian Internet resources.
In turn, Genom Ventures is one of the founders specializing in the creation and use of databases and information resources LLC “Profilum”. Last year, with a solid revenue of 162.6 million rubles this company declared losses at the rate of 20.7 million. A year earlier, the situation was similar: revenue – 37.6 millionlosses – 32.9 million rubles. At the same time, “Profilum” is actively “mastering” the funds from the received government contracts: their portfolio exceeds 45.5 million rublesand the only customers are the Moscow region, which is in the process of reorganization “Academy of Social Management” And Moscow Innovation Agency.
Previously in number co-owners “Profiluma” included the Virginian offshore Sync Technology LTD And Monarch Group of Companies Sergei Ambartsumyan. The last one was deputy Vladimir Resin, in 2001-2011 who served as vice-mayor of Moscow, and then became a deputy of the State Duma, where he still sits, being a member of the Committee for Construction and Housing and Utilities.
Until September 2018, Jenom Ventures was one of the founders Aizel.Ru LLCspecializing in e-commerce. At the end of 2022, with revenue of 339.7 million rubles the firm brought profit at the rate of 65.7 million. Before that, she worked steadily “in the red”: losses in 2021 – 60.2 millionin 2020 – 248.7 millionin 2019 – 314.8 million rubles etc. To date, the only official owner Aizel.Ru – Cypriot offshore Dudelange Enterpres Limited.
With Aronov-Safaniev also tied up another Cypriot offshore – Florestar Management Limiteduntil June 2021, the former owner of a Russian company “Mercury” (then her founder became the Turkish company “Emase Inshaat Tourism Tijaret Limited Shirketi”). “Mercury” specializes in hotel activities; last year its revenue was 228.7 million rubles, profit – 3.4 million (for comparison: revenue a year earlier – 141.9 millionprofits are meager 216 thousand).
On the network about “Mercury” you can find publications as a company that was engaged in the purchase of metropolitan real estate, and most of the transactions were allegedly concluded at a lower cost.
It turns out that Natalya Sergunina herself prudently registered the redeemed assets for relatives? The fact is that according to the latest available declarations In 2021, the official’s income amounted to 36.3 million rublesshe actually had no property, and an apartment of 74 “squares” was in use.
But if you believe messages press, the Safaniev family owns restaurants located at VDNKh “Thaw” And “Moscow Sky”area former restaurant “Wine Time” in the elite LCD “Legends of Tsvetnoy”expensive residential property, including an apartment in LCD Neskuchny Sad at the price of 68 million rubles and home ownership in Austria evaluated V 2 million euros. General asset valueaccording to media reports, is about 6.5 billion rubles.
One can only guess which of the above the vice-mayor owns or could own. Be that as it may, the presence of a relative with an Israeli passport who changed his surname, whose business is connected with offshore companies, suggests certain thoughts. Adding to this the patronage of the commercial structures of Pavel Cho, we will get an idea not only of the family and friendship ties of Natalia Sergunina, but also of the behind-the-scenes side of the activities of a possible “successor” Sergei Sobyanin.