Spouses Valeria And Artyom Chekalin, accused of tax fraud in the amount of 311 million rubles, received new claims from partners in the cosmetics business. What is the essence of their claims?
Another lawsuit – in the amount of more than 22 million rubles – was recently registered in the Moscow Arbitration Court against the company Lerchek “Bee Fit”, which was engaged in the distribution of cosmetics under the Letique brand. Artyom Chekalin was the general director of this company.
How the Lerchek cosmetics business scheme worked
The essence of the case is not disclosed, it is known that the Russian order fulfillment operator Tempoline Logistics filed a claim against Bee Fit. Companies of this kind are engaged in storage, packaging, labeling of goods, they process orders from buyers and deliver them directly to customers or to marketplaces. And among other things, they also process returns.
In Russian, the operator assumes all operations in the field of Internet commerce – the customer is only required to bring the goods to the company, which he will sell, and then receive his money from sales minus the partner’s commission.
In the case of Lerchek and her husband, the business scheme could look like this: Bee Fit orders creams, lotions and scrubs at a cosmetics factory, Tempoline Logistics trucks come to the factory to pick up the manufactured batch and take the products to their warehouses, from where they sell them in the Internet.
That is, theoretically, bloggers generally could not have anything to do with all production and logistics processes. It was enough for them to “trade in person” – to present products in their blogs.
The scheme seemed very successful: officially, over the past two years (2021–2022), Bee Fit has earned almost six billion rubles, and its staff has grown to 216 people. On the wave of success in February of this year, the company even registered a subsidiary, Letikbad. Judging by OKVED, she should trade in dietary supplements, children’s and dietary food and medicines.
It is possible that the Chekalins’ firm at some stage did not fulfill its obligations to Tempoline Logistics, owing 22 million.
Who else has financial claims against the Chekalins
Until recently, advertising for cosmetics was provided by Lerchek’s countless online marathons on YouTube, as well as the advertising agency Perfom Agency, with which Bee Fit signed a contract last May to promote Letique brand products. The parties agreed that advertisers will receive 30% of the amount of each order, and if the buyer returns for the next purchase, then another 20%.
Thus, in August 2022 alone, Lerchek, together with the agency, sold cosmetics for more than 14 million rubles. And in September, bloggers unexpectedly terminated the contract with a partner, for which they received a lawsuit for 3.5 million rubles in response. The lawsuit lasted almost a year, and just a few days before the Tempoline Logistics lawsuit appeared, the Moscow Arbitration Court recognized Bee Fit as a debtor and decided to pay a penalty to the advertising agency.
Where bloggers could get another 18 million debts
In April 2023, five businessmen from different regions of Russia at once submitted a collective application to the Investigative Committee and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The entrepreneurs claimed that they bought tobacco and electronic cigarettes in bulk from the Chekalins, but at the same time, part of the batch turned out to be defective, and part was not delivered at all. Former partners estimated their losses at 18 million rubles.
We are talking about the Efir company, which was launched in June 2021 by Lerchek’s husband Artyom Chekalin, together with a well-known tobacco tycoon Ilyas Valiullin. Businessmen organized a bright promotional campaign to attract partners – retailers of tobacco and electronics.
As deceived merchants told Life, Efir employees allegedly demanded that money be transferred for products not to the company itself, but to various individual entrepreneurs and certain individuals. The strange scheme was explained by the need to evade taxes.
Judging by the financial statements, in 2021 the financial and other current assets of Efir amounted to almost 20 million rubles. At the same time, businessmen officially worked in the red: a net loss for the year amounted to 3.5 million.
By the end of 2022, both Chekalin and Valiullin withdrew from the founders, and the company’s CEO announced that the liquidation of the LLC had begun. Perhaps the company was originally created under a dubious scheme: to collect money from customers.
What did the Chekalins spend money on?
In recent years, the fortune of Lerchek and her husband Artyom Chekalin has grown many times over – up to billions of rubles. A billion and a half have been invested in two luxurious mansions in prestigious areas of the Moscow region, one of which is a palace located in the Agalarov Estate cottage village, 24 kilometers from Moscow along Novorizhskoye Highway. Its area is 2200 sq. m.
The family garage ended up with a whole fleet of luxury cars: Rolls-Royce Cullinan Black Badge (price about 62 million rubles), Lamborghini Urus (28 million), a special Mercedes-Benz AMG G63 gelik (about 25 million), a simpler Mercedes that Artyom Chekalin was going to give to his father – about seven million rubles.
In addition, three more apartments in Moscow: two in the north-east of the capital on Dekabristov Street – 83 square meters and cost about 20 million rubles, the other is smaller – 38 squares (about 10 million). Another one in the center on Serpukhov Val with an area of 150 square meters. It is known that the spouses got it for 57 million rubles, and repairs in it cost another 21 million.
On the little things: two apartments in Lerchek’s native Togliatti – one with an area of 200 square meters worth about seven million rubles, the other – 94.4 squares (about 3.5 million) and eight kilogram gold bars worth 37 million rubles.