Will the squid get out of the water: will the audit at USC deal a blow to Olersky’s interests?
How Viktor Olersky frames billionaire Lisin.
After sudden metamorphoses in the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), such as the departure of Alexei Rakhmanov, the unexpected arrival of VTB head Andrei Kostin to the USC Board of Directors, the surprises continued.
The new general director of USC, Andrei Puchkov, recently announced that the corporation has suspended the purchase of equipment for several dozen civilian vessels, including 34 RSD59 dry cargo ships.
These bulk carriers were ordered by the State Transport Leasing Company (GTLK) at the Krasnoye Sormovo plant in Nizhny Novgorod
But Mr. Kostin looked at several factories where ships are built. It turns out that USC shipyards use machines that are more than 90 years old. These machines were received from Germany as part of reparations.
But it’s not just about “antique” machines. 34 bulk carriers RSD59 are being built by a certain, not very transparent LLC “Pola Rise”, with which former Deputy Minister of Transport Viktor Olersky, better known and also affectionately called in certain circles as “Vitya Kalmar”, may be associated.
Let us remind you that Mr. Olersky has long been called, and not in vain, a lover of foreign real estate, as well as offshore companies.
And therefore, it would not be superfluous to trace exactly how the RSD 59 dry cargo ships, which were ordered by State Transport Leasing Company, are built, especially since Mr. Olersky works very carefully, attracting very wealthy people. For example, such as the owner of NLMK Vladimir Lisin, who, as it turned out, also loves oceans and steamships.
Redomiciliation from the island of Cyprus
On June 15, 2023, the Krasnoye Sormovo plant and State Transport Leasing Company entered into a contract for the construction of a series of 34 dry cargo ships of the RSD59 project.
This is the largest series of ship construction in the entire history of USC, since dry cargo ships are designed to qualitatively update the size of the fleet and increase the volume of cargo transportation.
Factory “Krasnoe Sormovo”. Photo: https://regnum.ru/news/2725604
The contract was signed as part of the implementation of the STLC investment project using funds from the National Welfare Fund (NWF) to renew the civil water fleet
It was planned that the dry cargo ships would be delivered to the customer in three batches: 10 ships by the end of 2024, 12 ships by the end of September 2025 and another 12 ships by the beginning of February 2027.
But it must be recalled that a little earlier, namely on January 25, 2023, the co-founder of large maritime transport companies came to the SAR (Kaliningrad).
The international company Nelbury Investments Limited LLC was registered in the Special Administrative Region on Oktyabrsky Island.
The company “Nelbury Investments Limited” redomiciled from the island of Cyprus and registered at 74 Oktyabrskaya Street.
“Nelbury” is the holder of 50% in the authorized capital of “RPK Nord” with annual revenue of 4.1 billion rubles, and has its own transport fleet in Murmansk. General Director – Alexander Myasnikov.
The second founder is Rockwell Capital LLC (Moscow) with revenue of 39 billion rubles.
Previously, a controlling stake in Rockwell Capital LLC belonged to the founder of the Russian Crab company, Gleb Frank.
In addition, Nelbury Investments Limited, now Nelbury Investments Limited, is the founder of Infotek Baltika LLC.
This is the successor to JSC Infotek Baltika.
Nelbery Investments Limited owns 66.7% of the authorized capital of Pola Rise LLC, which is based in St. Petersburg.
The remaining 33.3% belongs to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of JSC SK Volga Shipping Company, one of the founders of the Volgo-Balt Transport Holding (VBTH) Rishat Bagautdinov, business partner of Viktor Olersky.
The company is managed by Albert Vygovsky.
Mr. Bagaudinov is known as the co-founder of several large firms specializing in maritime cargo transport and computer software development (PolaTech, Pola Invest).
The post of general director at Nelbery is occupied by Igor Giro.
Gleb Frank has been included in the US SDN (Specially Designated Nationals) sanctions list since March 2022.
The restrictions include a ban on doing business in the United States, a freeze on assets in the country’s jurisdiction, and a ban on transactions.
In December 2022, Gleb Frank sold his stake in the Russian Fishing Industry Company to business partners. And he left the shareholders.
Gleb Frank. Photo: https://hrmonitor.ru/bio/frank-gleb.html/
All these people are most likely in contact with Olersky, who, as a very cautious person, prefers to keep a low profile.
But it is very interesting to trace the business relationship of Mr. Olersky with Mr. Lisin, who since 2008 has been very interested in water assets.
Lisin buys shipping companies
Back in 2008, Vladimir Lisin bought the river transportation business of the Volga-Baltic Company group. Let us recall that this company was controlled by the notorious senator (serving a life sentence in the White Swan prison in Solikamsk since 2010) Igor Izmestyev.
Igor Izmestyev. Photo: https://www.standard.co.me/svijet/smrt-zene-oligarha-irina-htjela-da-raskrinka-kremlj-pa-nadjena-mrtva/
FAS reported then that the Danish Jysk Staalindustri in December 2007 filed a petition to acquire 80% of Volgo-Balt Transport Holding Limited (VBTH), and the beneficiary of Jysk Staalindustri was Vladimir Lisin.
VBTH controls the North-Western Shipping Company, the Volga Shipping Company, the Volga-Baltic Company and the Volga Fleet Tanker.
Co-owner of Volgo-Balt Transport Holding Limited Viktor Olersky confirmed that the deal is being finalized.
Vladimir Lisin. Photo: https://www.forbes.ru/milliardery/486645-nedela-milliardera-rspp-bez-lisina-arbitraz-dla-bakal-cuk-deripaska-protiv-pevcih
Universal Cargo Logistics Holding V.V. (UCL Holding, owns the port assets of Vladimir Lisin and Jysk Staalindustri) explained that negotiations on the acquisition of Volgo-Balt Transport Holding Limited have been ongoing since the summer of 2007.
20% of the voting shares of VBTH remained with Mr. Olersky and his partners – Kasyanenko and Bagautdinov. According to the agreement with NLMK, the owners of 20% of the shares have the right to an option, upon exercise of which the share of minority shareholders may exceed the blocking stake. But the agreement allows owners of 20% shares to block some transactions.
The media reported that Mr. Lisin paid $180 million for his stake in the company.
Belgium came to Lisin’s defense
It’s hard to believe, but billionaire Vladimir Lisin avoided falling under EU sanctions.
The European Union did not impose sanctions against Lisin because of the position of several member countries, EUobserver wrote, citing diplomatic sources. Belgium opposed sanctions against Lisin.
There are two NLMK factories in Belgium. Mr. Lisin is a beneficiary of Fletcher Group Holdings, which owns 79.3% of NLMK.
The factories employ 1,200 people. A representative of Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre De Cros confirmed that he admitted on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference that Mr. Lisin provides a significant number of jobs in Belgium. De Cro noted that Belgium is committed to implementing EU sanctions as soon as possible. And no later than the agreed “winding down period”. We are talking about the effect of exceptions on the import of certain types of Russian steel until October 2024.
Olersky’s secret business
But let’s return to our “squids”, in the sense of Olersky. Let us recall that at the beginning of 2008 there was a sale of non-core assets for the main shipping business. And then, with the withdrawal of non-core assets, Olersky began pre-sale preparations for the holding.
Viktor Olersky began to carry out a transaction to sell a controlling stake in a group of companies to Vladimir Lisin. But as a result of the deal, Olersky did not leave the business.
Victor Olersky. Photo: https://rg.ru/2018/05/13/viktor-olerskij-na-kaspii-net-konkurencii-v-morskih-perevozkah.html
The most important task for both the Volga and North-Western Shipping Companies was and remains fleet renewal. And here the interests of Olersky and Lisin coincided!
In 2016, Olersky took the position of Deputy Minister of Transport. Olersky had Belgian citizenship. As a result, he gave up his Belgian passport. But Mr. Lisin “remained” in Belgium.
Both Olersky and Lisin had and still have Napoleonic plans for water assets.
The shipping division of Mr. Lisin’s UCL Holding was preparing the merger of the Volga and North-Western Shipping Companies.
A company with Danish roots, Jysk Stalindustri, controlled by Lisin, submitted an application to the European Commission to acquire control in Volgo-Balt Transport Holding Ltd., which owns several leading river shipping companies in Russia.
Volgo-Balt Transport Holding Ltd (VBT) is registered in Cyprus. This office controls the largest river shipping companies in Russia.
Mr. Lisin became the owner of 80% of these assets not so long ago. And 20% of the voting shares of VBT remained with its former majority owners, including Olersky.
Between the budget and offshore
So, Olersky’s group changed the island of Cyprus to Kaliningrad.
Obtaining a Russian registration, protecting yourself from sanctions, while maintaining the European format of relations within the company, it turns out, is not difficult. Just. You need to master the procedure called “redomiciliation” and have 50 million rubles available.
Thus, in the large maritime business of the North-West, the shadow beneficiaries of the group of companies founded by Mr. Olersky were the first to do this.
Since the end of January, the owner of St. Petersburg LLC Infotek Baltika and Pola Rise, as well as the operator of the Murmansk port LLC RPK Nord, has changed jurisdiction. Instead of the Cypriot Nelbery Investments Limited, they belong to the Russian Nelbery Investments Limited.
“Nelbury” – let us remind you – owns 100% of “Infotek Baltika” and 66.67% of “Poly Rise”: between them they have 4 “daughters” in St. Petersburg, the Krasnodar Territory and the Murmansk Region. The founder of both companies is considered to be Viktor Olersky.
In Murmansk, Nelbery’s partners are Vitaly Orlov and Gleb Frank. They are the beneficiaries of RPK Nord LLC.
And recently, Viktor Olersky with the owner of Norebo Orlov and Gleb Frank decided to “ruin” the Krasnoye Sormovo shipyard in Nizhny Novgorod a little, since the examination of the breakdown of the Pola Maria vessel of the Pola Rise company was completed. She demanded compensation from the Krasnoye Sormovo plant for an allegedly low-quality steering column from Germany.
“Pola Maria” is being built, let us remind you, by order of State Transport Leasing Company.
It is not difficult to find Olersky’s business interests: one of the owners with a 33% share is Olersky’s long-time partner Bagautdinov.
He is also the director of the Vodokhod cruise company, which is also owned by Vitya Kalmar.
The company, which has government contracts worth more than 99 million rubles, belongs to the Cypriot offshore Volga-Baltic Cruise Lines Limited. Considering the considerable income – revenue of 4.1 billion rubles, profit of 40 million rubles and assets of 1.6 billion rubles at the end of 2021, can we assume that part of the taxes goes to Cyprus?
The interests of Olersky and Bagautdinov may be hidden behind the offshore.
Let us also recall that Mr. Olersky could help USC and Rakhmanov. Due to sanctions, USC needed a buyer for the Finnish shipyard Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy. But they couldn’t find him.
Almost immediately after Olersky left the post of Deputy Minister, it turned out that the shipyard was becoming the property of the cruise operator Algador Holdings Ltd, whose owners were called the owners of the Nevsky Shipyard (Nevsky Shipyard).
The beneficiaries of Nevsky Shipyard may also include Mr. Olersky, who in this way could help USC get rid of an unnecessary asset.
Until 2019, the shipyard was owned by the offshore company Algador Holdings Limited, behind which were Rishat Bagautdinov and Vladimir Kasyanenko.
Even earlier, among the owners of Nevsky Shipyard was the offshore Capstans Holding Limited (the island of Cyprus), which may also be associated with Mr. Olersky.
Further, Olersky and Frank have many joint projects: they were called the beneficiaries of the Tuloma Seaport in Lavna.
Then the owner changed, it became IC Axioma LLC. But the previous owner was also Mr. Olersky through Cruise and Transport Investments LLC, and even earlier, Viktor Olersky’s share belonged to Gleb Frank through Rockwell Capital.
What is the conclusion?
USC will undergo audits in the near future. And the shortage is determined. Information on the actions of the Pola Rise company is closed…
Mr. Olersky, naturally, will try to get out from under the blow. Who will be framed? To whom should we turn the arrows?
Apparently, Vladimir Lisin with his “water” empire, especially since the owner of NLMK is not under sanctions…