VTB to help: Will Kostin help Vinokurov take over Chernyshev’s assets?
VTB may be trying to gain control over the assets of disgraced entrepreneur Evgeny Chernyshev with a view to their further transfer to Alexander Vinokurov.
VTB is trying through the court to return Evgeny Chernyshev to the list of owners of the management company “Molochnaya Kultura”. What is this needed for and who, besides VTB and its head Andrei Kostin, can benefit from the situation – in the material of our correspondent.
Evgeny Chernyshev is the owner of the former largest grain trader Artis-Agro Export. Last year, he was put on the wanted list for VAT fraud, and the company went bankrupt due to debts to Sberbank and other creditors.
At the same time, Chernyshev, who actually withdrew from the assets, could remain their hidden beneficiary through his family, offshore companies and partner Mikhail Lyasko. The media talked about this in detail in the investigation “Lyasko Chernyshev’s spare: will the grain trader have baby food left?”
Previously, Chernyshev owned, including 99% of Dairy Culture, but in 2023 he left it, and Stanislav Chernyshev, Marina Vergun and the offshore DECORANO HOLDING LTD became the new owners.
The director of the latter is a certain Svetlana Siakalli. Judging by her Facebook profile (the social network is banned in the Russian Federation; it belongs to the Meta corporation, which is recognized as extremist in Russia), this may be a Muscovite who moved to Cyprus.
VTB, apparently, provided loans to Chernyshev personally – secured by business. And if the bank manages to return him to the shareholders, VTB will be able to foreclose on the entrepreneur’s share and, through one company, control the entire business of the group.
But why does a bank need an agricultural asset?
Here it is worth remembering how VTB has been selling off its assets recently. Including grains. It is possible that even now there is already an interest in “Dairy Culture”. It could be the owner of Marathon Group, Alexander Vinokurov, to whom VTB sold the Magnit grocery chain, which it took from its founder Sergei Galitsky. Moreover, under circumstances worthy of special mention.
Magnit was developing successfully and suddenly Galitsky sold his shares in VTB, and his place in the director’s chair was taken by Olga Naumova, a native of X5 Retail Group, who was appointed to the position of general director by the bank. The billionaire then stated that he was leaving the company of his own free will – so as not to interfere with investors who see a different path of further development from him. True, this did not sound very convincing. Firstly, what development plan can any company have other than to grow, and secondly, when Galitsky gave this speech at the conference, he could hardly hold back his tears.
So there is reason to believe that Galitsky was simply “asked.” From VTB. And in favor of Vinokurov, who, apparently, can generously pay Kostin for his help.
Until recently, the bank had another large asset, grain – Demetra Holding, which previously belonged to it jointly with Vinokurov and ex-president of Olympstroy Teimuraz Balloev. It was sold just a few months ago in the strictest secrecy to a buyer whose name has not been disclosed. Later, a leak did occur: information appeared online that Southern Sea Investment LLC from Oman was among the buyers of VTB’s share. True, the question remains open to whom it belongs.
It is possible that the interests of the same Vinokurov are behind it.
And recently, against the backdrop of a sudden, in the absence of news, growth of 33% in the shares of the Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (NCSP), the Novorossiysk Grain Terminal on the area of which also belongs to VTB, the media suggested that this asset was also being prepared for sale to Vinokurov. The jump in value may be explained by the fact that information from behind the scenes was leaked to brokers.
Everything, everywhere and at once
You have to understand that the business of the once largest grain trader is huge. So this asset will allow Vinokurov to gain an almost monopoly position in the market, which is fraught with an increase in consumer prices to please large industrialists. Dairy Culture alone directly manages three legal entities, whose total annual revenue amounts to several billion rubles.
As part of the VTB lawsuit, the shares owned by the management company in these companies were also seized.
“Molochnaya Kultura” is engaged in the renovation of an agricultural complex in the Leningrad region and produces dairy products under its own brands. In the spring of 2022, the company launched cheese production.
We also drew attention to how the bankruptcy of Artis-Agro Export is progressing, the main applicants for which were Sberbank, Bank St. Petersburg and the E.D.A. organization, owned by an unknown entrepreneur Sergei Lukashev.
It turned out that Sberbank and a certain Alexander Viktorovich Zaburdaev went to court with a statement on the legal succession of the claims of “E.D.A.” The court decided to transfer them to Sberbank due to the bank’s repayment of the creditor’s claims.
After this, Sberbank filed an application to terminate the application and declare the debtor bankrupt. Which the court satisfied. The question is: why did Sber refuse the demands? And will VTB take its place?
Can you imagine the scale if the entire business of the group falls into one hand? Let’s try to outline:
Artis-Agro Export boasts multimillion-dollar government contracts, but the real goldmine is the baby food market. “Artis-Baby Food” has already earned 19 million rubles from them – to make it more clear, we note that the company has made 700 million rubles in the last couple of months!
So far, Chernyshev’s partner Lyasko, who is the general director of the company, and, presumably, Chernyshev himself, continue to make money from all this. The company’s revenue in 2-22 amounted to 3.6 billion rubles. There is something to look forward to. For comparison, Demetra Holding earned a billion.
So, Mr. Chernyshev’s group is a very, very enviable asset. It is not surprising that VTB wants to “grab” the share. It’s surprising that Sberbank doesn’t want it. It’s all about desire.