The Russian authorities allowed the car dealer Avtodom, which is going to buy the factory of the departed Mercedes in the Moscow region, to also acquire Mercedes-Benz Bank Rus. He was engaged in lending to official dealerships of Mercedes-Benz and issuing loans to citizens for the purchase of cars of Daimler brands (the owner of Mercedes).
The decision is strange, given that the top managers of one of Avtodom’s largest shareholders, namely Centrocredit Bank, seem to be fleeing Russia, from where they criticize Russian financial policy.
The beneficiary of Centrocredit (and hence Avtodom) was the ex-head of Kabardino-Balkaria, and now Senator of the Federation Council Arsen Kanokov. State man! He is also credited with owning the Sindika holding. In general, Kanokov is a very ambiguous person, and the aforementioned Centrocredit bank is surrounded by many scandals.
More details – in the material of the correspondent of The Moscow Post.
Avtodom is one of the largest automotive holdings in Russia, which specializes in sales and service of premium and luxury cars. At the same time, the company receives good government contracts – they accumulated in the amount of 355 million rubles. Those. The company partially lives at the expense of the state.
According to Kommersant, as of the second half of 2021, 11% of Avtodom JSC was owned by Prusto Investments Ltd offshore, another 30.5% by the mentioned Centrocredit Bank, another 58.5% owned by unknown citizens of Russia. Quite possibly, these could be the people of Arsen Kanokov.
Polit.ru claims that 70% of the Centrocredit Bank belongs to its chairman of the board, Andrey Tarasov, and they are allegedly issued through the Cypriot CENTRORIVER HOLDINGS LTD. At the same time, it is Andrei Tarasov who is listed as the director of the offshore company in open sources.
But according to the source of the publication in the bank, Andrey Tarasov is just one of the top managers with a share of about 10%, and 60% of the bank is actually owned by the former president of Kabardino-Balkaria, and now senator Arsen Kanokov.
The decision to transfer assets to “nominal value” can be understood, because Russian senators are prohibited from directly owning and managing a business.
In any case, it is obvious that, having companies in the West as the main legal entities, money from the bank, and from Avtodom as well, can flow there.
To whom to Donbass, and to whom to London
When a special military operation to protect Donbass began, the bank was shaken by a scandal – its chairman of the board, the very same Andrey Tarasov, hastily left our country and moved to London, where he moved his family in advance and transferred his capital. Pravda.ru writes about this.
And if it is true that Kanokov is allegedly behind Tarasov’s assets, what does it mean that it was Kanokov who withdrew capital from the country?
And it would be fine if Tarasov just left. So he began to criticize the policy of the Central Bank on what light is worth – the very one that allowed and allows “Centrocredit” to work quietly on Russian soil.
The “patriot” Tarasov came under fire for the formation of the kuros: supposedly, further strengthening of the ruble exchange rate would “break the budget.” Tarasov also said that if he were the head of the Western rating agency Fitch, he would immediately “downgrade” (lower) Russia to the “C” level. His statements are quoted by the Political News Agency.
It is clear that such statements by a Russian (or Russian?) banker can harm the business and financial reputation of our state. But in the case of Tarasov, as they say, “whoever’s cow mooed.” After all, Centrocredit itself is experiencing serious problems.
At the end of March 2020, the S&P rating agency downgraded the outlook on the rating of Centrocredit Bank from stable to negative (B/B rating). At that very time, the bank was trying to fight off the claims of the Customs Service in courts for bank guarantees of alcohol companies for a billion rubles.
According to the same plot, in November 2019, the Moscow police opened a criminal case on causing property damage through breach of trust (clause “b” part 2 of article 165 of the Criminal Code). This was also reported by the Political News Agency.
As a result, the bank lost the case to customs, and, although even before that, it still paid off the debt of 571.9 million rubles, it was forced to pay a penalty in the amount of 26.3 million rubles. The case sheet can be viewed here.
All this looks like a possible fraud, which was revealed in time, so it did not have time to happen. However, the fate of the criminal case mentioned above is unknown. Most likely, it was closed after a court decision. Hypothetically, Mr. Kanokov, at that time already an influential senator, could also influence this.
By the way, the bank’s rating was downgraded already in 2022, after the so-called flight of Tarasov – then the Expert RA rating agency downgraded the credit rating of JSCB Centrocredit to ruBB.
Today it is difficult to assess the financial position of the bank, since information about Russian credit institutions is not updated in open sources. Apparently, to make it more difficult for Western analysts to assess the impact of sanctions on the Russian financial sector.
However, it is known that from September 2021 to February 2022, the bank lost more than 20% of its assets (almost 20 billion rubles), net profit fell immediately by 6 billion, resulting in a loss of 3.5 billion rubles. At the same time, the bank’s fixed capital decreased by more than 9%. Physical depositors literally ran out of the bank (minus 24%).
Why such a stir? Have they rushed to withdraw maximum funds from the bank for foreign “fun” tops?
In 2010, the scam of Centrocredit and the Holodilnik.ru online store, which took loans secured by goods that actually did not belong to him, but was taken from suppliers for sale, received notoriety. At least in the past, one of the beneficiaries of Kholodilnik was the Centrocredit bank, Pravda.ru writes about this.
Daughters at work
Returning to Tarasov, everything in London should be just wonderful for him. There he owns two houses in the most prestigious area of South Kensington, registered in the name of his eldest daughter Anastasia Besson, the wife of a French citizen.
The youngest daughter, Anna Danilina, is actively engaged in business in Russia; companies with a total turnover of several billion rubles are registered in her name. She is the owner of the Kinodants holding (KD Studios LLC, Centrokino, CJ-K), Sindika-Media Group, Lesresurs, RB-Group.
Some, like Sindika-Media Group, have already been liquidated. Previously, the alleged relatives of Arsen Kanokov, Timur Kanokov and Zaur Kanokov, were co-owners of the shares there, which is quite significant in terms of Tarasov and Kanokov’s ties.
Other companies are active. Among them is Kinodanz, which was engaged in shooting low-quality films, and even took money from the Russian Ministry of Culture for this. For the shooting of three films, Anna received 52 million rubles from the Ministry of Culture.
All the films failed at the box office, and the producers filed a lawsuit against the author of the BadComedian YouTube channel Yevgeny Bazhenov, who allegedly spoke in too much detail about the film “Beyond Reality”, which is why people did not go to watch it. As a result, the “film makers” left the court “without salty slurping” – they themselves abandoned the claims (apparently, realizing their futility).
Not to mention the fact that these budgetary 52 million rubles allocated for cinema could be tritely “sawn”. Bazhenov thus became known for reviewing low-quality films, which, with such a quality, took a suspiciously large amount of money. As a rule, just from the treasury.
Both in the bank and in Avtodom, which belongs to him, however, you can find other interesting personalities who can work for the interests of Kanokov. For example, the former (until 2019) CEO of Avtodom Andrey Kostin, the namesake of the head of VTB. He turned out to be the founder of ten organizations, of which only Taxi-Nedvizhimost LLC operates with one employee.
Others have been eliminated. Some – with a negative value of assets, which suggests that they were just “pads”. And the total cost of the companies established by Kostin is minus 724 million rubles. Where did the money go?
Over all this, we repeat, the shadow of the senator from the KBR, Arsen Kanokov, is believed to be one of the richest people in the country. Maybe he covers all this lewdness? But it is not clear how he was even allowed to the senatorial chair.
Recall that his leadership in the KBR ended ingloriously. In the summer of 2012, large-scale searches were carried out in the administration of the Republic. Lenta.ru wrote about it.
A significant part of Arsen Kanokov’s team turned out to be detained: the head of the administration of the President of the KBR Vladimir Zhamborov, his brother, the deputy head of the Republican Ministry of Property Ruslan Zhamborov, his boss, the Minister of State Property and Land Relations of the KBR, Khabdulsalam Ligidov, and their acquaintance, a well-known businessman and fashion designer Madina Khatsukova in the republic.
At the same time, three of the detainees were relatives of Arsen Kanokov himself. In this regard, the question of the cleanliness of Kanokov himself could arise. As a result, in the wake of these scandals, in 2013 he left his post. But now, it seems, he has acquired even more influence, which may not go in Russia’s favor at all.