FBK full-time employees, as it turned out during a recently published RT investigation, have several commercial enterprises in Russia and abroad.
So, the head of the legal department of FBK, Vyacheslav Gimadi, owns two companies - LLC Leviathan-Media and LLC Media-Live. The director of the latter is FBK lawyer and producer of the YouTube channel "Navalny.Live" Lyubov Sobol. Both companies were denied judicially registration of the media of the same name. One of the reasons was that Gimadi was unable to provide convincing evidence of his dual citizenship.
Then, experts noted in an interview with RT that such firms can be called "interdependent entities." With their help, you can inflate costs and underestimate profits, and the courts and the Federal Tax Service can often interpret such business conduct as abuse in the tax sphere.
Another FBK lawyer, Yevgeny Zamyatin, owns a commercial firm, Tidal Land LLC, which sells FBK merchandise. In his next investigation, RT, on the basis of financial documents at our disposal, described in detail how millions of unknown origin are credited to the accounts of this company, and then distributed to FBK-controlled funds in the regions and members of the Navalny team.
In its third investigation, RT analyzed the report of the FBK headquarters network. It turned out that 35.3 million rubles received by the opposition's bitcoin wallet in 2019, for some reason, did not fall into this report. Only 9.7 million were shown to donors, and the rest, according to experts, could be sprayed on non-public crypto accounts.
“How much money went through these wallets, how much was lost along the way, and where did it go?” - Vitaly Serukanov, an ex-lawyer of FBK, wondered in a conversation with RT.
The withdrawal of assets abroad is another reason, according to experts, for the registration of commercial firms on their own employees. As RT already wrote, abroad, in Latvia, the head of the FBK Investigation Department, Georgy Alburov, has his own company.
This company was registered in Riga in October 2016 and is called SIA Dataset (an analogue of the Russian LLC). Initially, it was clear only that, by the nature of its activity, the company specializes in providing information services.
Now, thanks to the documentation available to RT, the nature of these services has become clearer.
“Member of the central council of the Progress Party. I’m doing investigations at the Anti-Corruption Fund, ”Alburov says about himself on his page on the VKontakte social network.
In the course of his investigations, he, like other FBK employees, regularly turns to foreign online databases that provide information about firms in a particular country. For a certain fee in favor of local authorities, you can unload almost any company registered in the eurozone.
For example, through the Cyprus register, FBK employees obtained documents from the local company Furcina Ltd, owned by the classmate of Dmitry Medvedev, Ilya Eliseev. And then through it came out to the Italian company managing vineyards in Tuscany. Subsequently, these data were used in the investigation "He is not Dimon for you."
“In the Cypriot registry, anyone can get an annual report of this Furcina,” the FBK investigation said.
It is on this - obtaining data from the Cyprus registry - that Alburov’s business in Latvia is built.
Registered Dataset in Riga, on the street of Krishiana Valdemara, 18. About 10-15 minutes walk, on the street of Krishiana Barona, 5, the place of registration of the opposition publication "Medusa" - Medusa Project SIA.
According to the Latvian company registry (provided by the Lursoft service), Dataset owns the i-cyprus.com website.
This portal "specializes in the search, processing and analysis of data from the register of Cypriot companies."
“We are convinced that in the XXI century the main resource is information, business efficiency and the success of projects depend on its quality and timeliness,” the description of the resource says. - <...> We set a goal - to make the most reliable, affordable and convenient site for working with information about Cypriot companies. "
On the site you can get an extract about any Cypriot company by its name. The cost of one statement is € 50. For this money, the customer receives: a list of company owners, information on its type of activity, directors, some financial and constituent documents, including annual reports.
The site shows an example of what you can get for € 50.
- © i-cyprus.com
However, the exact same information as Alburova’s company is provided by the official register of companies in Cyprus - the Department of Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver (DRCOR).
Everyone can register and receive an extract from any company on this site. The price of the service is € 10. For this money, the applicant receives all the same that Alburov offers. Slightly less readable format, but five times cheaper.
- © efiling.drcor.mcit.gov.cy
According to the Dataset annual report, in 2018 the cost of services provided amounted to € 13.7 thousand. Revenue is € 73 thousand. Net profit after deducting all expenses is € 11.6 thousand.
A year earlier, these figures were several times lower: the cost of services was € 3.6 thousand, turnover - € 8.7 thousand, net profit - € 2.8 thousand.
The owner did not provide a report for 2019.
- © lursoft.lv
Despite a profitable business, the company Alburova accumulated tax debt.
So, at the end of 2018, tax arrears to local authorities amounted to € 960 euros, at the end of last year - € 195, in April this year - € 626.
Earlier in an interview with RT, Gleb Plesovsky, chairman of the Moscow College of Lawyers, AIB, suggested that a potentially foreign company could be used to transfer assets abroad.
“For FBK employees, taking into account the political color of their activities, the placement of legal entities abroad may be a way of protection against Russian law enforcement agencies. In particular, seizing their accounts will be extremely problematic, ”the lawyer concluded.
Pavel Zaitsev, a lawyer and former investigator of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, does not exclude the possibility that through this company the “approximate” FBK members could artificially inflate the cost of the paid services, and leave the difference settled in the Alburov intermediary company in their pockets.
“Anything can be here: winding up related to embezzlement or illegal receipt of funds, or transit,” the lawyer listed possible, in his opinion, options for using a foreign company FBK. “Or, for example, it could be a way for some sponsors to legalize financing.”
- Georgy Alburov
- RIA News
- © Maxim Bogodvid
Variations on the theme of legalization
However, in order to check all these versions, Zaitsev notes, it is necessary to conduct an investigation and find out which statements the company made, to whom they were provided, how the purchasing companies used these statements.
“In order to figure out whether these services are operating or fictitious, you need to find out how the buyers ordered the information received,” the lawyer explains. - If they didn’t send her anywhere, put them in her pocket and that’s all, then this is fiction. And if you later used this information - for work or analytics - then this is normal commercial activity. ”
Dataset does not apply to its customers. However, judging by the presentation on i-Cyprus, the clientele can be very diverse.
“Our customers are a wide range of companies and individuals <...>," this resource reports about itself. “We serve transnational corporations, government agencies ...”
All this can be verified in the framework of the criminal case initiated by the Investigative Committee on money laundering at the FBK, Zaitsev added.
“Investigators can quickly obtain information through Interpol and make a request to their Latvian colleagues. If Latvia does not answer, then serious suspicions will arise regarding the legality of the transfer of funds, ”continued the lawyer.
Hypothetically, the withdrawal scheme may look like this. The fund pays the intermediary € 500 for 10 certificates of offshore companies, although it could spend € 100. In the financial report will be reflected € 500, and in fact € 400 will settle in an intermediary controlled company.
Then these funds can be legalized, argues Zaitsev, can be withdrawn as profit (dividends), and subsequently, interested parties can distribute them among themselves.
Another option is possible, says the lawyer: this company could be used to obtain covert financing in the form of payment for fictitious services.
“Here you can see hidden transfers of funds to finance something. That is, someone takes and pumps money into the company under the guise of paying for some work, ”the expert suggested.
Anyone, including potential foreign sponsors, could use this scheme, the lawyer emphasized.
The fact that they require an amount five times higher than the cost for such a service for providing statements already raises questions, Zaitsev believes.
“Typically, the commission of intermediaries for such services ranges from 5% to 30%. For example, the company itself does not want to go into the offshore official resource, and it pays the agent so that the head does not hurt about anything. But not five times as much! ” - summarizes Pavel Zaitsev.
* The Anti-Corruption Fund is included in the register of NGOs performing the functions of a foreign agent, by decision of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of 09.10.2019.