Alexander Ryazanov and the price of inflation | Latest news The Moscow Post
29 November 2023

Alexander Ryazanov and the price of inflation

Perhaps, having failed to master the budget money, the former top manager of Gazprom could "shave off" his "futuristic" project "Velesstroy," the company of which is associated with Transneft, Nikolai Tokarev and Sergei Sobyanin.

Avtodor completed the Southwest Chord project after combining it with Meridian (a private high-speed highway under construction from Europe to China). The creation of the latter since 2010 was promoted by the former top manager of Gazprom, Alexander Ryazanov, the owner of the company of the same name. The firm is now in bankruptcy.

As the correspondent of The Moscow Post managed to find out, Ryazanov could simply "merge" Meridian into the hands of people close to Sergei Sobyanin and Nikolai Tokarev. Details - in the material of The Moscow Post.

Washed and drained

Recall that Ryazanov last year even managed to achieve state financing of his venture, despite the fact that the project itself raised a lot of questions. The creditor was the Eurasian Development Bank (a joint bank of the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan). In the project, Ryazanov had a partner - Roman Nesterenko. With which, after the start of the SVO, the ideological inspirer "Meridian" began to have conflicts.

Ryazanov tried in court to exclude Nesterenko from the founders of Meridian, since he allegedly "lost interest in the implementation of the project" and, simply put, began to "put sticks in his wheels." And allegedly because of this, the project stalled. As a result, it turned out that the partners simply stopped finding a common language, and, apparently, Ryazanov decided to take the reins completely into his own hands.

Nesterenko, in justification of his position, told the court that he refused to sign some documents due to the fact that there was no complete information about the financial activities of the company - for example, not a word was said at all about why no measures were taken against the largest debtor of the company (Velesstroy). As a result, the court found no reason to satisfy the requirements of the raging manager.


As for Velesstroy, literally a few days after Ryazanov refused to claim Nesterenko, the debtor company filed a bankruptcy lawsuit against Meridian itself. It turned out that Velesstroy was a contractor for Meridian during the construction of the route of the same name. And the debt to him was 78 million rubles. Actually, the customer of the work did not refute anything, declared insolvency and went into bankruptcy.

And Nesterenko a year later filed a lawsuit against Ryazanov and Natalia Mikhanova (who was the general director of Meridian), stating that they had stolen money from him. Judging by the plot of the case, it was about increasing Mikhanova's wages, through which some funds could allegedly be withdrawn. But no evidence was presented, because Nesterenko was left with nothing.

But that's not what's interesting. Behind all these high-profile proceedings, the main thing can be missed. The project, which was promoted by Mr. Ryazanov for almost a decade, using his administrative and other resources, "in blood and then" sought funding, permits and other things, suddenly they just took it and turned it down for once. They gave it to Velesstroy, without even trying to do anything. Simply leaked.

So wasn't Velesstroy originally the beneficiary of this whole story? And Ryazanov, did he get his "compensation" and was like that? Who in this case is behind Velesstroy?

Offshore, trust, and once again offshore

The company is registered, as usual, on an offshore company registered in Kaliningrad - MKOOO "Waveform." This office is controlled by the SKF mutual investment fund under the management of Megapolis-Invest Management Company. Another 7.5 percent belongs to Hong Kong PNP OVERSEAS INVESTMENTS LIMITED.

In general, the structure is more than cloudy.

Megapolis-Invest is owned by Roman Sokolov and his partners Tamara Kosteeva and Igor Korotkov. Personalities are not particularly remarkable. Sokolov's full namesake is an employee of the housing and communal services sector and in 2019 was nominated for deputy of the Korolev city district. Some of Sokolov's companies receive government contracts from Moscow government agencies and institutions of the Ministry of Health. And in one of the firms there is an interesting co-founder - a certain Minalto Alexandres.

In general, the beneficiaries of Velesstroy are the citizens of Croatia Mikhailo Penchevich and Kresimir Filipovic.

According to the (blocked on the territory of the Russian Federation), this is the father of the daughter of the long-term deputy Sergei Sobyanin Anastasia Rakova. Velesstroy itself receives contracts not only from Meridian. Billions of Transneft, headed by Nikolai Tokarev, go there through public procurement.


According to the authors of the Center for the Study of Corruption and Organized Crime, allegedly from Velesstroy funds are transferred to a foreign company Jadranka, controlled by the family of Mikhailo Perenevich. The authors also write that Perenevichi allegedly invested in the purchase of expensive hotels and restaurants on Loshan Island. So could Transneft's money be "laundered"?

If so, then the head of the state corporation Nikolai Tokarev himself may stand behind Messrs. Filipovich and Perenevich, whose structures continue to supply Velesstroy with large contracts from year to year. And the connection with businessmen can be traced. Mikhailo's brother Nikola Poznechevich at one time headed the British company Amerco International Limited - sort of like a supplier to Transneft.

As the investigators of OCCRP Jadranka wrote, it belongs to Beta Ulangaja, which, in turn, is owned by Promsvyaz Management Company. This is the management company of Promsvyazbank, which has long collaborated with Transneft.

Is it not thanks to this connection that Velesstroy easily manages to emerge victorious in any situations?

The company not so long ago got into a major scandal related to illegal felling. Tikhanovskaya filed a lawsuit against Rosreestr and its divisions related to the transfer of part of the forest fund to the usual category, where development is allowed. "Velesstroy" there should clear the site for the creation of a rotation camp for the builders of the plant.

The company was repeatedly accused of violating labor and migration laws, but this did not prevent it from working without problems even during the coronavirus pandemic. Now Velesstroy is developing a major in a row for construction in Ust-Luga, where the port project is being developed. By the way, the sole owner of the coal terminal in the port is the "authoritative" Ilya Traber.

In total, we see that billions of state rubles may end up on the sunny shores of Loshani. So will it happen with Meridian? Not the last violin here is probably played by the head of the largest state corporation, as well as a "family friend" of Rakova and Mr. Sobyanin. Only this whole friendly company seems to have forgotten that 2023 is in the yard, the SVO period, and to withdraw state billions from Russia is no longer just theft, but betrayal.

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