The meeting place of Ernst and PIK cannot be changed, or Sergey Gordeev is back in business
The project for the transformation of cinemas that migrated from offshore to VTB was in the hands of the head of Channel One Konstantin Ernst and Sergei Gordeev.
The VTB Industrial Real Estate LLC from the VTB division, which bought the asset from the offshore in September 2023, sold its freshly created company, Meeting Place LLC, among the co-owners of which was Grigory Pechersky, managing partner of ADG Group, which initiated the project in 2014. Together with him, the co-owners in December 2023 were the head of Channel One Konstantin Ernst, lawyer Alexander Tobak with a rather ambiguous reputation and SBK MB LLC from the Sberbank division, which has pledged shares of other participants.
In the story of muddy operations to buy a unprofitable asset and a possible trace of PIK founder Sergei Gordeev, The Moscow Post correspondent understood it.
Problem project with a large loan
The project itself to create regular shopping and entertainment centers from former Soviet cinemas was announced in 2014, when 39 buildings were bought from the Moscow mayor's office for 9.6 billion rubles.
Judging by the project website, he was once supported by the chief architect of Moscow, Sergei Kuznetsov, and then still deputy mayor for construction, now Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin. The latter completely called the reconstruction of cinemas - a large city program.
Interestingly, even before the tender, the FAS received a complaint from the deputy that the enlargement of the lot would lead to no competition and only one large buyer could buy it - at a very favorable price for himself, not the budget, price. So, in fact, it happened - the applicant turned out to be only one, and the price was the starting price. FAS, however, did not find any violations.
The opening of the entire network is scheduled for 2022 − 2026. At the same time, these deadlines are unlikely to be met, because in 9 years only 16 centers have been launched. Moreover, the project worth 60 billion rubles has already had problems.
The fact that the project is experiencing difficulties is evidenced by several facts at once. Firstly, at the end of 2022, with revenue of 1.1 billion rubles, Edisonenergo received a net loss of 15 billion rubles (loss of 2021 - 1.7 billion rubles) with its own negative value - 12 billion rubles. Secondly, in September 2023, the contractor, Instroy LLC, tried to bankrupt the company. And although the claim was returned to the applicant, the sediment remained. After all, judging by the arbitration database, the financial conflict with the contractor has not gone anywhere. In addition, the company in 2022-2023 had claims from the Department of Mining Property due to late payments for the lease of land under reconstruction objects. Also in 2020, at one of the facilities, construction supervision brought the company to administrative responsibility for violations.
And taking into account that the construction is carried out with loan money: VTB issued 46 billion rubles for it, the prospects for the project seem rather cloudy. Probably, problems with the implementation of the credited project led to the sale in September 2023 of Edisonenergo LLC, which replaced the Cypriot offshore Dvorik Cyprus Limited with a company from VTB's division - VTB Industrial Real Estate LLC.
Transfer Cup and Support for State Banks
In the fall, commenting on the deal, experts noted that it is most likely intermediate and it is possible that VTB will transfer the project to Sberbank. So it actually happened.
From December 21, 2023, the new owner of Edisonenergo was the Meeting Place LLC, established in July 2023. Its owners are Grigory Pechersky with a share of 28.05%, the head of Channel One Konstantin Ernst (49%), the famous Moscow lawyer Alexander Tobak, who was once associated by the media with the founder of PIK Sergey Gordeev, 7.95% and SBK MB LLC from the Sberbank division, to which the shares of the rest of the participants were pledged. He owns 15%.
Pechersky stood at the origins of the project, which is being implemented by ADG group, founded in 2004 by his brother, former vice president of Alfa Bank Mikhail Pechersky and his business partner, former co-owner of the Eldorado chain of home appliances stores Igor Yakovlev. Yakovlev left the project in 2008.
The Pechersky brothers are the sons of Boris Pechersky, the owner of the Kaliningrad water production plant Yantarny Iceberg, who started his business back in the 90s.
Gordeev in the share?
In 2014, when a tender for the sale of cinemas was held, RBC wrote that the second declared participant in the auction was to be Balder (in 2016, the offshore company was liquidated). Its director Viktor Anufriev said that the purchase was planned in the interests of the Platform company, at that time the asset manager of the president and largest shareholder of PIK Group, Sergei Gordeev. But the investor has changed plans.
And now in the list of owners of LLC "Meeting Place" lawyer Tobak has appeared. In 2020, the New Day edition reported that a lawyer who had a common business with State Duma deputy Andrei Makarov could also be associated with Gordeev.
Among Tobak's business partners (for Mashinvest LLC) was Mikhail Cherkasov, founder of the Development Management Company Group. But most importantly, Cherkasov is a native of Rosbuilding, from which Gordeev began his business. The editors of The Moscow Post talked about the connection between Cherkasov and Gordeev in the story of the collapse of the empire of Igor Pinkevich, arrested in the case of defrauded equity holders of the Tsaritsyno residential complex.
The Moscow Post has repeatedly written about Gordeev, who during the period of sanction tightening of the nuts tried to go into the shadows, leaving the post of top manager, but remaining the beneficiary. There were and are complaints about the projects of his division not only from home buyers, but also from the authorities, for example, the governor of the Moscow region Andrei Vorobyov practically kicked out the management company "PIK-Comfort" from the region, and Sergei Sobyanin even arranged a public one "flogging" general director Ivan Polandov, saying that if the new school on Lublin Street is not completed on time, the PIK group of companies will be suspended from construction in the capital. There were also questions about the financial component of the group.
In light of this, a well-founded question arises, is Tobak a cover for Gordeev in the project for transforming cinemas?
By the way, among the business partners of Tobak (according to TD RTI LLC) there is also such a remarkable person as Vladimir Gridin, the namesake of the State Duma deputy of the fifth and sixth convocations.
The legalization of Ernst's offshore companies?
In fact, this chain of transactions with Edisonenergo can be called a kind of legalization. After all, according to the Pandora Archives, which were published in 2021, not only Pechersky was related to the Cypriot Courtyard Cyprus Limited (this offshore company still owns A-Propertis LLC, which is led by Pechersky), but also, possibly, Ernst.
As Forbes reported, Ernst Haldis Corporation allegedly borrowed more than $16 million from the Cypriot bank RCB Bank in 2014 (VTB State Bank has a stake in it) and bought a stake in Moscow Dvorik Ltd from the British Virgin Islands. And the latter owns a stake in the Cypriot Courtyard Cyprus Limited.
In 2017, Ernst denied Pechersky's connection with the project, but the head of Channel One did not hide his connection with Moscow Dvorik, however, denying that he had received a share as a reward for his work at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
By the way, on December 13, 2023, a certain LLC "UK Meeting Place" was created, the owners of which were all the same individuals as in LLC "Meeting Place," but without traces of Sberbank. It is probably this asset that will manage the already built objects.
Ernst is not only the director of the state television channel, but, in addition to the already named companies, he owns Ekrymtor LLC, which works in the field of real estate. Until 2019, the owner of the asset was the Cypriot offshore company ARGENZIANO TRADING LIMITED. Ekrymtor has stakes in four restaurant companies: Yusta Line LLC, Cross Line LLC, Monet LLC and Shinok LLC, which are suppliers under numerous government contracts. For example, Yusta Line has 54 state contracts worth over 33 million rubles, including 27 with the administration of the mayor and government of Moscow. The company also fed employees of the Prosecutor General's Office, the SovFeda apparatus and the State Duma apparatus. The co-owner of these Ernst assets is restaurateur Andrei Dellos (through Angelus LLC).
Meanwhile, in light of the information about the stake in Moscow Dvorik Ltd, it is not known how many more interests of Mr. Ernst revolve outside of Russia. Given the proximity to state financing and the general situation in the world, this looks, to put it mildly, not very patriotic.
From the analysis of the situation and the transaction, we can conclude that the "overexposure" of Edisonenergo for three months by VTB structures was a link in one chain for transferring it to Sberbank, as well as the legalization of real owners from offshore. The only open question is whether Tobak's lawyer is Gordeev's face value or represents the interests of other persons?