German-Ukrainian synthesis of Knecht and Sobolevsky
The strategically important plant of Volzhsky Orgsintez JSC probably came under the control of German citizen Tortsten Knecht, for whom a native of Ukraine, Cypriot citizen Alexander Sobolevsky, could act as a "screen".
A completely wild situation has developed at the strategic enterprise of Russia, which was previously the manufacturer of 90% of all aniline in the country used in the production of medicines, herbicides, and most importantly - explosives.
As the correspondent of The Moscow Post in the Volgograd region managed to find out, the real beneficiary of the Volzhsky Orgsintez JSC plant may be a German citizen, pharmaceutical businessman Tortsten Knecht.
Although according to the documents in different databases, a certain native of Ukraine with offshore citizenship, Alexander Sobolevsky, is listed as the founder.
Against the background of recent information about the possible liquidation of aniline production at the enterprise by some top managers, the Prosecutor General's Office of Russia through the court is trying to return Volzhsky Orgsintez JSC to the balance of the state.
Some unhealthy experience - either a fishing company from Vladivostok will be under the control of an investor from the United States, then the port of Perm will be under the control of a Briton, and then a whole chemical plant sailed away to a Cypriot citizen. Judging by the open data, the plant is one of not many who have production facilities for the production of aniline - a base for the production of explosives. The latter is especially important in light of the SVO and the needs of the military-industrial complex.
Background: Soviet synthesis - in private hands
Created in 1964 for the production of methionine, the Volga Methionine Plant was later renamed the Organic Synthesis Plant and expanded its product line. In the 90s, a joint-stock company was established on the basis of the plant by the decision of the state property management committee of the Volgograd region.
According to the company's website, the range of products produced includes aniline, methionine, flotation reagents, carbon disulfide, gasoline additives. The company's products are used in the pharmaceutical, chemical, pulp and paper, glass industries, in the production of synthetic detergents, synthetic rubbers and latexes, pesticides for agriculture, for use in the diet of farm animals and birds, as raw materials in textile, leather and other sectors of the economy.
As for aniline, according to the authors of the New Chemical Technologies website, allegedly in the early 2000s Volzhsky Orgsintez in Russia was the largest producer of these products used in the military-industrial and pharmaceutical complex.
As RBC reported in September 2022, after the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation in July 2016 introduced a ban on the use of monomethylaniline in Russia (due to the negative impact of the additive on car units and the environment), Volzhsky orgsintez was forced to mothball this workshop. Ultimately, imported products took the leading position in Russia in the aniline market. After the European Union imposed sanctions on the supply of aniline and hexamethylenediamine to Russia in 2022, experts expected the Volzhsky plant to launch workshops and fill the market with domestic products. But, alas, according to RBC, the management not only did not resume production, but, on the contrary, agreed on plans to liquidate the production of aniline.
Only taking into account who is the controlling persons of the enterprise today and who is behind them, such a decision is not surprising.
Are the beneficiaries of the chemical plant foreigners?
According to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, the only shareholder today is Alexander Sobolevsky, who has the only citizenship - the Republic of Cyprus. According to open data, the former director of the Volga Orgsintez Sobolevsky is a native of Ukraine.
In 2006, RBC reported that a criminal case was opened against the former general director of Sobolevsky on the fact of abuse of office. The investigation considered that by his actions he caused damage to the Volga Orgsintez for more than 8 million rubles. In addition, the prosecutor's office in the same period opened a case on tax evasion by management - about 36 million rubles. Sobolevsky himself was then put on the wanted list. The criminal case slipped for a long time. There is no official information about how the claims against Sobolevsky ended, but the case was probably dismissed, since, for example, in 2022 Sobolevsky was mentioned in "Komsomolskaya Pravda" as a collector of assistance for Donbass.
According to information from the RBC publication, the plant's shares were distributed as follows: 25% at ADDISEO France S.A.S (France), about 20% at Welding GMGH & Co (Germany), 15% at Russian-German JSC "Pharmvestprom," the rest are divided between individuals and the staff of the enterprise.
As REGNUM reported, against the background of a criminal case in those years, the leadership of the chemical plant, the Renova company of the oligarch Viktor Vekselberg allegedly offered to sell the shares, and then there were offers to sell them to the German co-owners of Orgsintez - Welding GMbh & Co.
And here is what is interesting, according to the Federal Tax Service of Russia, the related party of Volzhsky Orgsintez is Torsten Knecht, who at the end of 2022 was listed as a member of the Board of Directors of Volzhsky Orgsintez JSC and the beneficiary of the German company Welding GmBH & Co, working in the pharmaceutical industry. According to the company's reports, a large batch of methionine worth more than 412 million rubles was supplied to the German company at least in 2014.
Since at least 2017, Sobolevsky has been a beneficial shareholder. Such conclusions can be drawn from the reporting, which states that in 2019 the beneficial owner Sobolevsky was paid debts on dividends of previous years - more than 1.2 billion rubles. In total, according to the results of 2017 and previous years, the amount of dividends was agreed in the amount of 7.7 billion rubles.
At the same time, in 2017, judging by the information disclosure site, the shareholders of the plant allegedly were exclusively offshore companies - Cypriot STAWELLSON MANAGEMENT LIMITED, CORRIENSON MANAGEMENT LIMITED, Kinseywood Consultants Limited, TEXTONFIELD CONSULTANTS LIMITED, Millsaport Enterprises Limited and prescribed in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - Olymp Technologies S.A..
It is likely that Sobolevsky in this story acts as a kind of screen for foreigners - in the light of the sanctions imposed on Russia since 2014. It is not for nothing that Knecht is still a related side of the Russian chemical plant.
From the point of view of finance and assets - Volzhsky orgsintez is a tidbit. Judge for yourself.
At the end of 2022, the company indicated revenue in the amount of 15.4 billion rubles against 12 billion rubles a year earlier and a net profit of 2.9 billion rubles (against 1.8 billion rubles)
In addition, the plant owns three "subsidiary assets" - LLC "Solnechny Bereg" (owns a share together with a certain Tatyana Petrova since April 2023, the company works in the field of catering), LLC "SP" Akhtuba "(sanatorium, supplier of 30 state contracts totaling more than 34.8 million rubles) and LLC" Green Wave "(provision of services in the field of crop production). At the same time, it is worth noting: in 2021, Vasily Bykadorov was appointed director of the sanatorium, which was previously the head of the liquidation commission of Orgsintez Food Combine LLC.
A curious fact: until April 2023, the owner of Solnechny Bereg was Natalya Tsybulnik, who is associated with both Sobolevsky and the former head of the board of directors of Volzhsky Orgsintez Revaz Vashakidze, as well as with Knecht's company VELDING GMBH AND CO. CU. " In 2019, Tsybulnik acquired Pharmvestprom LLC (created from Pharmvestprom CJSC) from these three persons, which was liquidated in 2020.
Also back in 2022, judging by the reports, the plant owned shares of Promsintez JSC, which it sold to an unnamed individual in August. This transaction, in our opinion, needs to be checked and, possibly, canceled with the return of the asset to the chemical plant. According to data from the documents of the Federal Tax Service, the profit from the sale of the share amounted to 6.77 billion rubles.
It is worth noting that in 2014, NB Sintez LLC, registered in Rubezhnoye (Lugansk region), also appeared in the list of persons affiliated to the enterprise. In this enterprise, the Russian plant owned more than 20%. The fate of the share is not known today.
In general, today at stake is the future of 1.5 thousand employees of the enterprise, as well as the so-called protective structures that are on the balance sheet of the enterprise. And how the current owners relate to this asset can be seen in the materials of the courts to bring the plant to justice by the Ministry of Emergency Situations. As follows from one case in 2021, at the time of the inspection (25.05.2021) the civil defense AP, which is in federal ownership and transferred to the plant, was used in violation of the established norms and rules: contrary to paragraph 3.2.7 of the Rules, the engineering and technical equipment of the civil defense AP No. 428, 454, 456 is defective and ready for use as intended. In particular, the premises of the AP GO No. 428, 454 are flooded. Also, contrary to paragraph 1.8 of the Rules, access to the AP GO No. 456 is not provided, since the central entrance to the protective structure is filled up.
And in such a caring attitude, the current top management has been convicted more than once, which is confirmed by the arbitration base.
Will the chemical plant be returned to the state?
On July 25, 2023, the Prosecutor General's Office of Russia appealed to the arbitration of the Volgograd Region with a claim to claim in favor of the Russian Federation shares of Volzhsky Orgsintez in the amount of 2,344,925 pieces from someone else's illegal possession of Alexander Vladimirovich Sobolevsky. The plaintiff demanded that the shares be credited to the account of the Federal Property Management Agency.
The supervisory authority substantiated its claims by the fact that during the audit "the facts of violation of the economic sovereignty of the Russian Federation were revealed, expressed in the illegal disposal and disposal of Volzhsky Orgsintez JSC (formerly the Volga Production Association Orgsintez named after the 60th anniversary of the USSR)," which is of strategic importance for ensuring the country's defense and state security. Moreover, the court materials say about the illegal seizure of Sobolevsky's asset.
The prosecutor directly noted that the state, as the owner of the enterprise, did not carry out its privatization, did not transfer the authority on this property of the Volgograd region, but, despite this, "the State Property Fund of the Volgograd Region in the period from September 1993 to 1996 illegally distributed property belonging to the Russian Federation in the form of securities, transferring them in favor of third parties, including residents of foreign states".
Interim measures have already been imposed on this lawsuit - the seizure of shares, all movable and immovable property, as well as the management bodies were forbidden to make decisions on the payment of dividends, the distribution of profits and losses, the payment of remuneration to members of the board of directors, as well as to take actions aimed at withdrawing funds and other property from Volzhsky Orgsintez JSC.
This, of course, is good that at least now they paid attention to the situation, that's just a question, and from which they were not able to return the asset to the state before? After all, now the question of limitation will arise in full growth. And no matter how the court refused the Prosecutor General's Office on this basis.
Indeed, in fact, because of this inaction, only in 2022, in the form of dividends, the same Sobolevsky, about whom the prosecutor writes as an illegally seized asset, received 2.9 billion rubles, and 6.8 billion rubles were accrued. And what part of them was paid later is not known. Now multiply these amounts by years of ownership!
Who will be responsible for billions of rubles of dividends alone, floating into the hands of foreigners who could replenish the budget, and the sale of the asset - Promsintez shares in August 2022? It seems to us that, in addition to legal action, this story is very lacking in a criminal case.