Was Lavlentsev “pressed” through Timchenko?
Business projects brought “under the article” of the former vice-governor of St. Petersburg
The Moscow court placed under house arrest Vladimir Lavlentsev, the former vice-governor of St. The investigation is associated with a loan of 2.3 billion rubles received by Lavlentsev from Timchenko, who is now seeking the return of funds in court.
The post of vice-governor of the Northern capital, in charge of housing and communal services, landscaping and energy, was held by Lavlentsev in 2013-2014, and his appointment could be facilitated both by a personal acquaintance with Georgy Poltavchenko, who was in charge of St. Petersburg at that time, and by the patronage of Timchenko, who had his own commercial interests.
Prior to his appointment, Lavlentsev headed the board of directors of the ARKS construction company founded by his father, 25% of which belonged to Timchenko. The vice-governor himself stated that he was acquainted with Poltavchenko “through charity.” At the beginning of 2014, Lavlentsev was involved in a “charitable” scandal: the public utilities he supervised transferred millions of contributions to the Fund for the Restoration of the St. Panteleimon Monastery on Athos.
The vice-governor stated that he knew about the deductions, but no orders were signed in Smolny on this account. As a result, the prosecutor’s office had to intervene in the situation, pointing out the illegal nature of this kind of “charity”. After leaving the civil service, Lavlentsev again went into business: he became a partner of Timchenko, having bought out a stake in the OSH company, and also took the position of general director in Stroytransgaz, controlled by the oligarch. In addition, Lavlentsev was one of the co-owners of the GORKA Group (formerly Gorkapstroy), which was involved in the multi-billion dollar project for the construction of the SKA Arena hockey stadium and was “lit up” in the scandal with the contracts of PJSC Rosseti Lenenergo.
Billionaire “reminds” of debt
By a decision of the Meshchansky District Court of Moscow, the former St. Petersburg vice-governor Vladimir Lavlentsev, who is accused of particularly large-scale fraud, has been placed under house arrest for a period of two months. According to the Fontanka publication, we are talking about damage in the amount of 2.3 billion to 3 billion rubles.
Kommersant, in turn, clarifies that we are talking about a loan provided to the ex-official by his former business partner, billionaire Gennady Timchenko. Last May, the latter appealed to the Khoroshevsky court of the capital with a claim to recover 2.3 billion rubles from Lavlentsev; A hearing in the case has been scheduled for August 2.
Lavlentsev knew Timchenko even before his appointment to the post of vice-governor: in 2010 he headed the board of directors of the construction company ARKS, founded by his father Alexander Lavlentsev, 25% of which Timchenko controlled first through Stroytransgaz, and then through the Volga Group “. As Forbes wrote, ARKS was one of the largest contractors of the Moscow government: in particular, the company received contracts for the reconstruction of Kashirskoye and Dmitrovskoye highways, Balaklavsky Prospekt, signed a cooperation agreement with the Luzhniki sports complex as part of the reconstruction of the Grand Sports Arena, etc. .d.
In 2015, Timchenko sold his stake in ARKS to Lavlentsev Sr., who, at the end of 2016, together with several top managers, entered into a deal to sell a controlling stake with the owners of the Moscow Engineering and Construction Company, Dmitry Davydov and Dmitry Andreenkov.
After leaving the civil service, in 2020 Vladimir Lavlentsev took the position of general director at Stroytransgaz, and soon bought out 20% of OSH from Gazprombank, the main owner of which, through the Volga Group, was Timchenko. It is noteworthy that OSH at that time owned 88.7% in Stroytransgaz JSC (the remaining shares were owned by offshore Gresiana Business Inc. and minority co-owners).
It is worth noting here: to date, there is no information about the owners of Stroytransgaz in open sources. Nevertheless, it is known that the company’s portfolio of state contracts exceeds 242.6 billion rubles, and it continues to actively develop budget finances. For example, just this July, contracts for the reconstruction of Oktyabrsky Prospect in Lyubertsy worth 5.2 billion rubles and the construction of a highway from Yakutsk to Magadan worth 2 billion rubles were extended.
The latest available financial indicators of the company are dated 2018: then Stroytransgaz declared revenue in the amount of 26.9 billion rubles and a profit of 351.8 million. Given the presence of the aforementioned Greciana Business Inc. among the founders, it is worth asking how much of the profit could “settle” in offshore accounts.
Illegal charity of the Poltavchenko team
But back to Vladimir Lavlentsev. He held the post of vice-governor of St. Petersburg in 2013-2014, overseeing one of the most problematic and at the same time corrupt areas – housing and communal services, landscaping and energy. Commenting on his appointment, Fontanka, citing the press service of the ARKS company, wrote: Lavlentsev received an offer to take such a high position personally from Georgy Poltavchenko, who was in charge of the Northern capital at that time, with whom the businessman was allegedly well acquainted “through charity” .
At the same time, it was emphasized that earlier Lavlentsev had repeatedly visited St. Petersburg on working visits together with the vice-president of ARKS, Dmitry Dolgov, since the company planned to implement a number of projects in the city, including those related to the St. Petersburg Vodokanal. As we can see, the appointment was quite consistent with the commercial interests of Timchenko, who had a stake in a promising contractor.
In general, relations between the partners remained quite warm for a long time. In Stroytransgaz, for example, Lavlentsev was characterized as “a professional manager and a highly qualified expert in the field of construction.” And now Timchenko is recovering billions from a “professional manager” through the court, who, moreover, has become a defendant in a criminal case. This is what financial disagreements with a former business partner led to!
During the short time Lavlentsev was in office in the Northern capital, there was a loud scandal related precisely to charity: in early 2014, it turned out that the state road enterprises responsible for cleaning city streets were transferring funds to the Fund for the Restoration and Preservation of the Cultural and Spiritual Heritage of St. Panteleimonov monastery on Mount Athos, whose founders included, among others, the Moscow Patriarchate, the government of St. Petersburg and the Moscow City Hall.
According to Fontanka, in just a few days, about 17 million rubles were transferred to the fund: GUDP Center made a contribution of 9 million, JSC Kolomyazhskoye donated 3.8 million, GUDP Put – 2.5 million rubles etc. Then the profile vice-governor Lavlentsev said that he knew about the transfer of money, but no official orders were signed in Smolny in this regard. As a result, the St. Petersburg prosecutor’s office recognized the “Athos tithe” as illegal, making a submission to another vice-governor, Igor Divinsky, who was a member of the Board of the Foundation’s founders.
Businessman Lavlentsev “masters” the budget
The story described above brings some clarity to the nature of the joint “charitable activities” of Poltavchenko and Lavlentsev. An interesting nuance: the Gorkapstroy company, later renamed the GORKA Group, was associated with the restoration of the monastery, the founder of which in 2006 was Alexander Lavlentsev, and one of the co-owners in 2018-2020. was his son.
GORKA sits tightly on the budgetary financial “needle”: the volume of contracts received by it exceeds 49.5 billion rubles. At the beginning of 2020, the structure of the former vice-governor approved a project for the reconstruction of the Peterburgsky sports and concert complex (SCC), today known as the SKA Arena – upon completion of the work, it should be the largest hockey stadium in Europe.
In December 2020, SKA Arena LLC and the GORKA Group signed a general contract for the construction of a new ice palace on the site of the Petersburg. The implementation of the project was estimated at 38.5 billion rubles, and it was emphasized that the cost could increase by 10-15%. As the RBC portal reported in September 2021, 10 billion was allocated from the budget of the Northern capital in the form of a grant.
In the media, the SKA Arena project was also associated with Gennady Timchenko: he was called not only the co-owner and president of the SKA hockey club, but also the “initiator of the reconstruction of the facility.” It is known that in May 2018, the billionaire and Governor Poltavchenko signed an agreement on the reconstruction of the SCC. Whose interests Lavlentsev represented in the future is not difficult to guess.
However, in August 2020, Lavlentsev left the capital of the group, soon becoming first a co-owner and then the general director of Stroytransgaz, whose structures were also involved in the multibillion-dollar reconstruction project. As for the GORKA group, it appeared in a high-profile scandal related to the contracts of PJSC Rosseti Lenenergo.
At the end of 2018, the management of Lenenergo terminated a number of contracts with the contractor, and then filed a lawsuit to recover unearned advances and interest for the use of other people’s funds in the amount of 3.2 billion rubles. Publications appeared on the network, from which it followed: in the course of concluding agreements, GORKA provided Sberbank bank guarantees for almost 5 billion rubles, which eventually turned out to be fake, and in fulfilling obligations, it supplied non-existent equipment to the customer for 1.2 billion.
The result of such “cooperation” was the failure to meet the deadlines for commissioning the Kupchinskaya and Shushary substations, as well as lengthy litigation, during which the contractor first returned 1.5 billion rubles to Lenenergo, and in December 2020, in accordance with terms of the settlement agreement, undertook to pay 327 million rubles of unworked advances and compensate for damage in the amount of 255 million.
Bankruptcy of “Stroy-Alliance” – just the beginning?
It is also worth mentioning another enterprise that was once affiliated with Lavlentsev – the Stroy-Alliance development company, the founder of which was the already familiar GORKA. To date, this structure is in the process of bankruptcy, and in November last year, as part of the consideration of the claim of OOO Mekhanizator No. 1, the Arbitration Court of the Moscow District took interim measures in the form of arrest of property and funds on the accounts of the former St. Petersburg vice-governor in the amount of 940 million rubles.
Over the past years, Stroy-Alliance has been operating exclusively in the red: in 2018, with a revenue of 7 billion rubles, its losses amounted to 36.3 billion; in 2019, revenue – 1.3 billion, losses – 2.7 billion rubles. At the end of last year, the company’s assets were estimated at minus 2.8 billion. At the same time, the volume of contracts received by Stroy-Alliance exceeds 271 million, and among the main customers we find the infamous Moscow State Budgetary Institution “Ritual”, which has repeatedly found itself in the center of attention of journalists.
Note that the peak of Stroy-Alliance’s loss occurred in 2018-2019, and in 2020 Lavlentsev left the owners of the GORKA group. Is it not to hide your participation in the possible withdrawal of finances and the bankruptcy of its “subsidiary” structure?
To date, the former business partner of the oligarch Timchenko owns several enterprises, but none of them, according to open sources, receives contracts from budgetary institutions and does not bring solid income to their owner. At the end of last year, Lavlentsev ceased to act as a co-founder of the companies Acanthus Atelier and A-Atelier, declaring multimillion-dollar losses. Will bankruptcy await them in the near future, like Stroy-Alliance?
As for the ex-official himself, his future seems very vague: the former patron Georgy Poltavchenko no longer has his former political weight, and Gennady Timchenko will make every effort to return the unpaid debt. In addition, the investigation into the fraud case is only gaining momentum, and the big question is whether the security forces will be interested in some other aspects of the activities of the “professional hzikhidtidekrt manager.”