Andrei Melnichenko continues the "bermudization" of Russian energy?

Oligarch Andrei Melnichenko, under the guise of asset restructuring, is parting with SGK, which includes the Sibeko company, which the Prosecutor General's Office tried to take from him last year. The Moscow correspondent of The Moscow Post understood the schematic business of a citizen of the UAE and the richest man in Russia.


Oligarch Andrei Melnichenko, under the guise of asset restructuring, is parting with SGK, which includes the Sibeko company, which the Prosecutor General's Office tried to take from him last year. The Moscow correspondent of The Moscow Post understood the schematic business of a citizen of the UAE and the richest man in Russia.

SUEK Group sold Siberian Generating Company LLC (SGK) and explained this event by restructuring the profile of the organization's activities, which is not the first time that Andrey Melnichenko's assets are actually happening.

Primorskaya GRES case

In 2019, the billionaire's companies acquired the assets of RusHydro, which was then headed by Nikolai Shulginov, in something like this. RusHydro allegedly sold non-core assets, which for some reason included such important enterprises as Primorskaya GRES and the associated Luchegorsk coal mine. In return, RusHydro received Melnichenko's stake in the Far Eastern Energy Company (DEK).

Naturally, this deal turned into an anecdote and now I will tell you which one. At the turn of 2023 and 2024, information appeared that the cost of modernizing the Primorskaya state district power station doubled to 50 billion rubles. The business plan of the project was drawn up for 15 years with shifting the load on consumers, who as a result will pay 200 billion rubles for this project.

Andrei Melnichenko continues the "bermudization" of Russian energy?

Nikolay Shulginov. Photo:

The money for the modernization of Primorskaya GRES, which, mind you, belongs to the richest man in Russia in 2023 (Melnichenko was so praised by Forbes), should be given by Gazprombank - in fact, these are state funds, and the project was supported by the Government of the Russian Federation at the moment when the Minister of Energy was the same Shulginov. He washes his hand and never throws, he will only help as much as he can.

Thus, RusHydro (60% of the shares belong to the state) changed the asset requiring modernization with SUEK, and three years later its head Shulginov at another post authorized the allocation of money to Melnichenko's structure for the required work with the expectation of their return through tariffs. Exactly the same "schemes" can be subtracted in "Golden Calf," but modern life is much more interesting.

Purchase of Sibeko from Abyzov

There are enough disputed assets in Melnichenko's portfolio. The businessman had a bright story with Siberian Energy Company LLC, which is better known as Sibeko.

Melnichenko bought the organization in 2018 from its then owner, former Open Government Minister Mikhail Abyzov. Melnichenko and Abyzov have known each other since childhood - they studied together at a special school at Moscow State University, and after the onset of the nineties, they retained and strengthened close relations as successful "Novorossiysk" businessmen.

Andrei Melnichenko continues the "bermudization" of Russian energy?

Classmate Melnichenko Mikhail Abyzov. Photo:

At the time of Milnichenko's sale to Sibeko, Abyzov began to have serious problems in Russia - after the 2018 presidential election, he lost his ministerial post, and his position in the new Government of the Russian Federation was liquidated as unnecessary. The entrepreneur was the only Open Government minister who, in my opinion, gave nothing to the country.

After that, Abyzov disappeared into his villa in Italian Tuscany and was instantly detained during a rash and fleeting visit to Moscow in 2019.

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation charged Abyzov with fraud, commercial bribery and illegal entrepreneurial activity when he was a minister. The result was a sentence of 12 years in prison.

Thanks to the case against Abyzov, Melnichenko was also hit. The prosecutor's office became interested in buying 31.9 billion shares of Sibeko, first by the Khakass Service and Repair Company, and then by Kuzbassenergo, which today is part of the Siberian Generating Company JSC. It was this structure, in fact, that Melnichenko sold this week.

What is not easy to understand here, but the prosecutor's office suspected Melnichenko of participating in "shadow transactions" and asked to seize these assets in favor of the state in accordance with Article 169 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation.

Andrei Melnichenko continues the "bermudization" of Russian energy?

Photo: Sverdlovsk District Court

The scandal ended with an amicable agreement, the parties to which were SUEK and the Prosecutor General's Office, as a result of which the Sverdlovsk District Court of Krasnoyarsk terminated the proceedings on the claim of the department, and Kuzbassenergo announced that it would send certain funds to charity. It is not known how much the conversation was about, but the result of the story was the sale of Melnichenko to the toxic company Sibeko, complete with SGK, allegedly as a result of "asset restructuring."

Yugoslav Gambit

The embarrassment with Abyzovskaya Sibeko did not affect Melnichenko's passion for asset transactions. Immediately after the scandal, the oligarch, through a closed-end mutual investment fund (ZPIF) under the management of the Kinetic Capital company in this area, acquired the Neftetransservice company, which is engaged in the railway transportation of raw materials. Formally, this deal is not connected with Melnichenko, but the closed-end investment fund here received a loan from SUEK, this just does not happen.

Andrei Melnichenko continues the "bermudization" of Russian energy?

Andrey Melnichenko with his wife Alexandra. Photo:

Due to the sanctions and the Sibeko case, the oligarch is now acting indirectly. In February-March 2022, Melnichenko fell under Western sanctions, after which he withdrew from the capital of his key assets - Eurochem and SUEK.

Prior to the SVO, Melnichenko controlled 90% of Eurochem's shares through the parent Swiss company EuroChem Group AG and the Cypriot offshore organization AIM Capital SE, but after the sanctions, these organizations became the property of the businessman's wife Alexandra Melnichenko (Nikolic), who is a citizen of Serbia and Croatia and does not have a Russian passport.

An even more exotic scheme is applied in SUEK - the leading producer of electricity and heat in Siberia, which serves 6 million Russian consumers. The company is controlled by Melnichenko through his wife and offshore structures Firstline Trust (Bermuda) and SUEK Plc (Cyprus). Thanks to this, in the strategically important sphere of the electric power industry, not Russian, but Bermuda-Cyprus legislative norms operate.

Democrat Melnichenko

In 2022, Melnichenko even asked the European Union to return itself to the number of beneficiaries of the Cyprus trust, and as for the Bermuda company, it is registered in a country that is included in the black list of offshore companies of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. However, this seems to have little effect on the actions of the richest man in Russia. Melnichenko's assets remain tied to the Western legal system (Croatia, Cyprus, Bermuda). As if the main thing in this business is to keep property rights and savings away from Russia.

It is symbolic that in 2023, at the very moment of the height of the story related to the lawsuit of the Prosecutor General's Office on Sibeko, Melnichenko surfaced on the board of trustees of the Gorbachev Foundation, which the media position as an institution for affirming the values ​ ​ of democracy in Russia. To take the example of a businessman, democracy seems to be Bermuda-Cyprus-Croatian.

Melnichenko in 2021 received UAE citizenship, which is given only to people who have invested a lot of money in the Emirati economy. His residence in the Persian Gulf was the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah.

The oligarch also does not forget about the West, but France has already deprived him of his mansion, and Italy - yachts, now all hope is for his wife.