Governor Artamonov found traces of Prigozhin | Latest news The Moscow Post
30 November 2023

Governor Artamonov found traces of Prigozhin

The wanted ex-vice-governor Ilya Tuzov may be related to the business of the deceased businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Courts with enviable constancy refuse the TFR in absentia arrest of the former Lipetsk vice-governor Ilya Tuzov, who was the right hand of the current head of the region Igor Artamonov.

Tuzov is accused of mediating Ruslan-1 when concluding contracts for the repair and construction of roads in the Lipetsk region. Rumor has it that the reverent attitude towards Tuzov on the part of the courts is caused by Artamonov's good-neighborly relations with the chairman of the Lipetsk Regional Court, Alexander Kartashov.

The accused ex-official has been abroad for more than one year, allegedly for health reasons. At the same time, far from his homeland, he can engage in a very profitable business related to gold mining. The Moscow Post detailed this in the investigation "Ace up his sleeve": the Zimbabwean secret of the Lipetsk governor. "

In Zimbabwe, the late businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin has large mines, whose property issues are now being resolved. The Moscow Post correspondent in the Lipetsk region understood how Tuzov, Artamonov and Prigozhin can be connected and what prospects this union has.

Prigozhin's African portfolio

Against the background of searches of Prigozhin after an unsuccessful attempt at a mutiny of the Wagner PMC, it became known that the businessman visited the countries of the African continent - confirmation is provided by photographs and camouflage elements found in the entrepreneur's house.

A few years ago, foreign media reported that Prigozhin was promising political assistance to African leaders in exchange for the right to extract minerals in the region. And allegedly Emmerson Mnangagwa, who beat Nelson Shamis in Zimbabwe's election, is thanks to a businessman.

Emmerson Mnangagwa. Photo: Ilya Pitalev/RIA Novosti

But it is in Zimbabwe that the company in which Mr. Tuzov worked - the gold mining Liberation Mining (Pvt) Ltd. And not in an ordinary position, but in charge.

Now the director of the company is Viktor Tskhovrebov, with him a corporate conflict lasts in 2018, the essence of which is that Russian investors are arguing with the Zimbabwean side about paying for a block of shares and fulfillment of obligations. The Business Times wrote about this in detail.

The whole story began when Tuzov was still working for the company, because there is every reason to believe that what is happening affects his interests.

Earlier, Tskhovrebov served as an analyst on the stock market of Sovfracht JSC, a company that worked with orders from the Ministry of Defense. There is no need to talk about the intersections of the department and Prigozhin.

In addition to Zimbabwe, Prigozhin could have interests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Sudan, Libya, Madagascar, Angola, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and the CAR. It is known for certain that the associated company Lobaye Invest in 2018 received the right to develop diamonds there. At the same time, the press service of Mr. Prigozhin denied that he had such interests, but the media found out that Yevgeny Khodotov, indicated as the general director of the company, was the former head of another M-Finance structure associated with Prigozhin. RBC wrote about this.

The people have a version that Prigozhin did not want to advertise his presence in Africa.

As for Lobaye Invest, in the summer of 2018, the company acted as the official sponsor of the republican football championship. Perhaps for this she got her diamonds. In addition, since July 2018, Russians have been seen guarding the president of the republic, Fosten-Arkange Tuadera. Fontanka wrote about this.

Lukashenko on the wire

As for Zimbabwe, there is no information on which of the companies owned by the businessman received the right to mine and where. However, it is known that there are about 500 gold mines in the state. In addition, in 2018, the Midlands Goldfields Foundation, associated with the son of the closest associate of President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko Viktor Sheiman, received a 70% stake in a joint venture of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation for gold mining called Zim GoldFields Limited. OCCRP wrote about this (recognized as an undesirable organization in the Russian Federation)

And we recall that it was Yevgeny Prigozhin who went to Belarus after an attempt at rebellion, when the head of state personally called him there. So, it can be assumed that the Midlands Goldfields Foundation and Zim GoldFields Limited are also part of the interests of the late businessman.

Alexander Lukashenko. Photo: Pavel Byrkin/RIA Novosti

Out of old friendship

Zim GoldFields Limited hired the Belarusian company Belgeopoisk to carry out work, they carried out work in the channel of the Mutare River in the province of Manicaland.

Liberation Mining, judging by industry sites, was developing in the Lupane region, a few hundred kilometers from Manicaland. And yet, too, may be part of Mr. Prigozhin's "empire," hypothetically operating at the hands of Tuzov. Former close associate of Artamonov.

Recall that during the rebellion on June 24, the Wagner PMC equipment freely moved in the Lipetsk region. All Artamonov did was report allegedly strengthening security measures and advised people not to leave their homes. Who knows, maybe Prigozhin agreed in advance with the governor that he would not interfere with anyone?

The media write that in Africa Prigozhin created a "unique architecture of horizontal integration": which means that all connections are in the hands of one person. Observers consider it unlikely that the businessman's empire will pass to his family. Still, his wife and children own only a small fraction of assets and in completely other areas. The organization of this level is not their caliber.

Therefore, there is a possibility that the shares will be divided between those who represented the interests of Prigozhin on the African continent. Part may no longer just formally, but actually go to the same Tuzov - if our assumptions about his connection with the late businessman are correct. Prigozhin and his PMCs would hardly let someone from the Russian Federation control the industry where he earns billions without his permission. On the African continent, there is only one rather independent (although also not a fact) "big fish" - Mr. Deripaska's EN.

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