Under the “cover” of “Paul Rise”
Are the oligarchs-monopolists of the fishing business claiming millions from the Krasnoye Sormovo plant? In the process of litigation for the recovery of the company “Pola Rise» 28 million rubles and almost 600 thousand dollars from the Krasnoye Sormovo shipyard in Nizhny Novgorod, an examination was carried out, according to the results of which the cause of the accident of the dry cargo ship Pola Maria was the use of glue when attaching the left rudder propeller.
Representatives of the enterprise do not agree with the conclusions and insist on interrogation of the expert in court. If the court takes into account his arguments, the plant does not exclude filing a recourse claim against the German equipment supplier Schottel or the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, which controlled the construction of the dry-cargo ship and issued a quality certificate for the parts. Plaintiff’s company Pola Rise”was previously associated with a whole network of Cypriot offshore companies, and last January, the International Company Nelbury Investments Limited became its main owner, information about the current owners of which is not disclosed. Meanwhile, the actual beneficiary of Paul Rise“They call the former federal deputy minister of transport and ex-head of Rosmorrechflot Viktor Olersky: his business partner Rishat Bagautdinov owns 33% of the enterprise, whose finances could be withdrawn to offshore accounts. Through its “subsidiary” structure RPK Nord, Nelbury Investments Limited is associated with Rockwell Capital of businessman Gleb Frank, the son of ex-Minister of Transport Semyon Frank and son-in-law of billionaire Gennady Timchenko. Gleb Frank is a longtime business partner of Olersky, who in 2021 bought out 50% in Tuloma Marine Terminal LLC from Rockwell Capital, but then transferred the share, along with the debts of Axioma Investment Company, to Boris Aleshin and Nikolai Levitsky. The co-owners of Rockwell Capital also include OST Invest Holding LLC, controlled by businessman Yevgeny Orlov and which became the owner of the Russian Fishery Company, previously owned by Frank. In turn, experts connect Yevgeny Orlov with Vitaly Orlov, the owner of the largest fishing holding Norebo, a longtime ally and business partner of Gleb Frank, who is confidently heading towards monopolizing the market.
“Paul Rise“and” Krasnoe Sormovo “deal with the screw
The reason for the breakdown of the cargo ship “Pola Maria” was named by the forensic experts as the use of glue when fastening the left rudder propeller manufactured by the German company “Schottel” instead of a mechanical tie with fastening screws. The consequence was an accident that occurred in March 2021 in the Baltic Sea. The ship was built for the company “Pola Rise» by the Krasnoye Sormovo plant in Nizhny Novgorod, commissioned by the State Transport and Leasing Company (STLC).
According to Kommersant, Paul Rise”repaired a new dry cargo ship and demanded from shipbuilders 28 million rubles and almost 600 thousand dollars in compensation for the breakdown and demurrage of the vessel, but Krasny Sormovo refused to pay such an amount, citing no fault in the incident: allegedly the dry cargo ship could be operated in dense ice conditions or run aground, which was the real cause of the accident. Representatives of Schottel also adhere to this version.
During the arbitration proceedings, the lawyers of Pola Rise” petitioned for a forensic examination, the results of which, however, did not convince the shipbuilders, who insisted on calling an expert, whose conclusions the defendant considers to be “value judgments taken from the ceiling” and based, among other things, on the records of the ship’s log, not giving answers to questions about the causes of failure.
Now the representative of Krasnoy Sormovo, Svetlana Guseva, says that if the plant’s fault is nevertheless established, the company will file a recourse claim with the equipment supplier or the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, which controlled the construction of the dry-cargo ship and issued a quality certificate for parts. The next meeting is scheduled for March, but the interrogation of the expert will obviously not put an end to the process.
Offshore schemes of former Deputy Minister Olersky
The beneficiary of the specializing in sea and river cargo transportation “Pola Rise» The media have repeatedly named Viktor Olersky, former federal deputy minister of transport and ex-head of Rosmorrechflot. Since January 2023, 67% of the carrier is owned by Nelbury Investments Limited LLC, an international company registered in Kaliningrad, in the Oktyabrsky special administrative district – the so-called “Russian offshore”, with a preferential taxation system. There is no information about the owners of Nelbury Investments Limited in open sources, as the tax authorities closed access to the relevant data after the introduction of Western sanctions against Russian shipowners.
But it is known that earlier among the founders of Pola LLC Rise” included the Cypriot offshore Capstans Holding Limited, Nelbury Investments Limited and Teutonic Terminal Services T.T.S. Limited”, on the accounts of which, theoretically, a part of the profits received and unpaid taxes could “settle”. And, in fact, there is something to “settle”: at the end of 2021, with a revenue of 6.6 billion rubles, the company’s profit amounted to 1.6 billion. For comparison: in 2020, with revenue of 3.9 billion Paul Rise” went “in the red” by 1.4 billion rubles.
Although the name of Olersky does not appear among the official co-owners of the enterprise, Rishat Bagautdinov, with a share of 33%, is his longtime business partner, the general director of the Vodohod tour operator company, the board of directors of which the former official headed in April 2019. The only official owner of Vodokhod is the company Volga-Baltic Cruise Lines Limited, registered in Cyprus. Previously, the tour operator was tied to a whole network of offshore companies – Cypriot Fastlead Limited, Walbridge Limited, Marakol Limited and the Dutch Universal Cargo Logistics Holding B.V.
Perhaps the “not a step without offshore” scheme was also used to transfer the tour operator’s finances to foreign accounts? This idea is suggested by the financial indicators of the enterprise. So, in 2021, its revenue amounted to 4.1 billion rubles, profit – 40.5 million. In 2020, with a revenue of 1.4 billion, the company declared a loss of 913.4 million.
Its Cypriot owner “Vodokhod”, in contrast to “Paul Rise”, has not changed, and on the network you can familiarize yourself with publications from which it follows: the carrier is under the control of the same Olersky. We also add that among the co-owners of Paul Rise” included another business partner of the former official and Rishat Bagautdinov – Vladimir Kasyanenko.
In 2019, Olersky rendered a kind of service to the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation included in the US sanctions list and its CEO Alexei Rakhmanov, by buying out the Arctech Helsinki Shipyard, located in Helsinki and having become problematic due to sanctions. It is noteworthy that the ex-deputy minister himself was called the main contender for the media asset, but in the end it became another offshore Cypriot company Algador Holdings Ltd, and its beneficiaries, by a clearly no coincidence, turned out to be Messrs. Bagautdinov and Kasyanenko. As for Olersky, he headed the board of directors of Helsinki Shipyard Oy, a new structure that, following a deal, became the owner of the assets of the Finnish Arctech Helsinki Shipyard.
Gleb Frank sells assets
But back to the newly owned Paul Rise“Nelbury Investments Limited” company and pay attention to its “subsidiary” structure – registered in Murmansk and specializing in warehouse activities “RPK Nord” LLC. Earlier, its co-owners included Vladimir Kasyanenko, already familiar to us, as well as offshore Capstans Holding Limited and Nelbury Investments Limited (both, we recall, were the founders of Pola LLC Rise“).
Since July 2019, 50% of RPK Nord has been owned by Rockwell Capital, one of the beneficiaries of which is billionaire Gleb Frank, the son of ex-Minister of Transport Semyon Frank and son-in-law of billionaire Gennady Timchenko. Until March last year, Gleb Frank was the owner of the main shares in the Russian Fishery Company (RRK) and the Russian Crab group, but then he sold them to top managers directly involved in asset management, which suggested a possible fictitious nature of the transaction in order to maintain control over both structures. At the end of last year, Frank finally withdrew from the RRK shareholders, and his share went to OST Invest Holding LLC, controlled by Evgeny Orlov, which will be discussed below.
In September 2021, another interesting deal took place: Cruise and Transport Investments (KTI), owned by Viktor Olersky, bought out 50% in Tuloma Sea Terminal LLC in the Murmansk Region from Rockwell Capital. KTI was registered in July 2020; according to the latest financial indicators for 2021, in the absence of revenue, its losses amounted to 2.5 million rubles, the value of assets – “minus” 2.1 million. Perhaps the company was created with some far-reaching calculation?
By the way, until January 2020, Vladimir Kasyanenko was among the co-owners of the sea terminal, and until April 2022, the Cypriot Capstans Holding Limited. As they say, all familiar faces – both physical and legal. In April 2022, the Axioma Investment Company registered in August 2021, the founders of which are Boris Aleshin and Nikolai Levitsky, became the sole participant in Tuloma Sea Terminal LLC. The first is associated with the structures of Rosnano, the second in the 2000s led Eurochem, served as the first deputy head of the Komi Republic, and acted as the founder of the Geotek company.
Vedomosti drew attention to the following noteworthy circumstance: the next change of owner was preceded by a lawsuit by the St. in December 2019. It turns out that Olersky bought the asset from his business partners Frank and Orlov, and then preferred to get rid of both it and debts?
Is Norebo heading for a monopoly?
Speaking of Rockwell Capital, one should dwell in more detail on the owner of 70% of the company, which is OST Invest Holding LLC, registered no later than last June and controlled by Evgeny Orlov – both directly and through the simultaneously registered Elbrus Partners LLC “. We also recall that last November, OST Invest Holding became the owner of almost 100% of the Russian Fishery Company and 70% of Primcrab LLC, 30% of which is still owned by Gleb Frank.
Businessman Yevgeny Petrovich Orlov is called by market participants a relative of Vitaly Petrovich Orlov, a longtime business partner of Frank Jr., the owner of Norebo, the largest Russian fishing holding, ranked 121 in the Forbes ranking of the richest businessmen with a fortune of $ 1 billion.
It is known that after the scandalous withdrawal from the All-Russian Association of Fishing Industry (VARPE) in December 2021, the structures of the Norebo group soon joined the Association of Fishing Fleet Ship Owners (ASRF) created by Frank. Prior to this, the “fish kings” were marked by the promotion of common interests at the government level, initiating an appeal by the ASRF addressed to Deputy Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko, with a request to develop a mechanism for protecting the interests of participants in the first stage of the investment quota program – the so-called “investors”, who intended in this way to reimburse the costs of modernization own fishing fleet.
Meanwhile, the reason for the conflict between Norebo and VARPE was the negative assessment by the majority of the members of the association of the holding’s proposals, developed with the aim of fundamentally changing the principles of regulation of the fishing industry. In WARPE, they were regarded as “aimed at creating competitive advantages for a limited number of large fishing enterprises”, that is, in fact, at ousting small market participants and establishing a monopoly.
Another high-profile scandal involving Norebo was associated with the so-called “Scandinavian schemes”, which involved the Icelandic fishing holding “Samherj” and its “subsidiary” structure from the Canary Islands “Katla Seafood”, bought out by Orlov in 2014.
As the Russian media wrote with reference to the Icelandic newspaper Stundin, the Samherj structures took part in the withdrawal and laundering of more than $ 70 million from Russia, and the central role in the machinations was given to Cape Cod FS, a company registered in the Marshall Islands, whose accounts were blocked by the Norwegian bank DNB NOR. A number of other companies were also involved in the scheme, withdrawing funds first to Switzerland and Luxembourg, and then to Hong Kong, Panama and the British Virgin Islands.
To date, Vitaly Orlov is focused on establishing Norebo’s control over the assets of the Pella Leningrad Shipbuilding Plant: at the end of last year, the holding became the owner of Pella SK LLC and Pella-Stapel LLC, which were separated in the process of restructuring the enterprise, which owns site near Kolpino, where Norebo laid down the first longline processor of project 200101.
Perhaps, while Vitaly Orlov is lobbying for the interests of his fishing giant, his alleged relative Yevgeny Orlov concentrated on working with Gleb Frank, covering the latter’s “rear” under sanctions pressure and at the same time taking part in deals with Viktor Olersky? In this case, the “tripartite alliance” is confidently heading towards the establishment of a fishing monopoly. And in parallel, the beneficiaries of the “Kaliningrad offshore” are recovering tens of millions of rubles from the “Krasny Sormovo” for the faulty cargo ship “Pola Maria”.