The owners of City Invest Bank take golden passports | Latest news The Moscow Post
30 November 2023

The owners of "City Invest Bank" take "golden passports"

They risk getting involved in the criminal case of the bankruptcy of JSC Deka.

The owners of the St. Petersburg City Invest Bank Leonid Shorsher and Sergey Kamzin may become defendants in a criminal case on the deliberate bankruptcy of JSC Deka (producer of kvass Nikola), which was actually managed throughout 2019. The Ministry of Internal Affairs, with the support of the FSS, has already conducted searches in City Invest Bank as part of this case. This is not the first visit of the security forces to the Bank, but this time the threat to lose their freedom is real: the bankruptcy of Deka on the initiative of Invest City Bank angered both the authorities of the Novgorod region and the creditors of the plant. Schorscher and Kamzin had taken the precaution of obtaining Maltese passports before the case.

The controlling owners of the St. Petersburg City Invest Bank are one step away from becoming defendants in a criminal case on the deliberate bankruptcy of JSC Deka (Novgorod Region), a major producer of kvass under the brands Nikola and Russian Kvass. It is reported by media that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Novgorod region brought criminal case under article 196 of the criminal code on the fact of Deka’s bankruptcy and carried out searches at the office of City Invest Bank with the support of the FSS in St. Petersburg. In the bank, the investigators were looking for documents on the financial and operational activities of Deka for the reason that the entire 2019 and 2020, that is, at the time when Deka became bankrupt and stopped, the company was actually managed by City Invest Bank through its representatives on the board of directors and General Director.

The shareholders of City Invest Bank are St. Petersburg entrepreneurs Leonid Shorsher and Sergey Kamzin. There is practically no information about them in the public domain, except that they have owned the bank since 1994 together with their relatives and family members. The bank for more than 20 years has not risen above the 200th place in the rating of banks for 2020, however, according to sources of The Moscow Post, Shorsher and Kamzin have never had rthe task of bringing it to the leaders. The closeness and nepotism of City Invest Bank allowed it to build dubious schemes and conduct obscure cash transactions both for itself and for other similar banks, sources of The Moscow Post indicate.

It is not for the first time that the security forces come to its office, with searches: in 2015 the Central office of IC of Russia seizured the documents at the Bank in connection with the criminal case against the leadership of Intrustbank, after which the owner Intrustbank was arrested in absentia, but the owners of City Invest Bank, according to interlocutors of The Moscow Post, managed to escape arrest and detention, although they helped Intrustbank at that time to build the schemes for obtaining budget money of the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA). For example, Intrustbank, realizing that it was facing bankruptcy, with the help of City Invest Bank, used an openly fraudulent scheme to receive money from DIA, which was as follows. Intrustbank transferred the deposits of its legal depositors to City Invest Bank, the latter registered them as deposits of individuals and transferred them back to Intrustbank. The presence of fake deposits of individuals on its accounts allowed the bank-bankrupt to claim to receive money from DIA within the framework of the deposit guarantee system for individuals. The scheme, as a result, was disclosed and even challenged by DIA in court, but Shorsher and Kamzin, unlike the owner of Intrustbank, managed to somehow avoid the publicity of this story.

Now the situation for Shorsher and Kamzin can be much more serious. The Deka plant was declared bankrupt by the Arbitration Court of the Novgorod Region in the spring of 2019, and just three months before that, in December 2018, Deka unexpectedly ceded the rights to sell all its products to the newly created Deka LLC. As established by the Arbitration Court of the Novgorod region, this LLC was created under the control of City Invest Bank: from the court decision in case No. A44-7028/2019, it follows that City Invest Bank first gained control of the Board of Directors of JSC Deka, appointing 3 members out of 5, and then obtained from the General Director of Deka a power of attorney for all operating activities for the newly appointed first Deputy Viktor Kuzmin (affiliated with City Invest Bank). It was Kuzmin who gave Deka LLC the right to sell all of Deka's products, and the legal entity, friendly City Invest Bank, began to receive all the proceeds from the sale of the company's products. The Deka LLC plant itself did not pay even those funds that were necessary to maintain operating activities, as a result of which the plant became bankrupt in the spring of 2019, and completely stopped by December 2020.

Shorter and Kamzin found General Director of Deka, so to speak, in the street, it was Manoli Ivanovich Khuravidi. It is unknown who this person is, what his biography is and what he did before coming to Deka, – his whereabouts could not be established even by the investigation in the person of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Novgorod region. In fact, the bankers found either Mr. Khuravidi or his passport and issued him as the general director of an entire enterprise of the Novgorod region with 700 employees. Moreover, the plant is in default as a result, the equipment is idle and not protected, creditors in the courts seek payments of loans issued by JSC, and the mysterious Khuravidi still heads the plant and probably does not even know about it.

One of the friendly to the Bank structures - Expert systems LLC (St. Petersburg) also filed an application to the Arbitration court of Novgorod region for recognition of JSC Deka’s bankruptcy, that is, the Bank first withdrew all financial flows of the plant to the new LLC, and then filed its bankruptcy from one of the structures. The founder of Expert-Systems LLC (St. Petersburg), according to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, is Anna Mikhailovskaya, who simultaneously heads another legal entity of the bank, City Invest Consult LLC, that is, is fully affiliated with the bank. The purpose of initiating the bankruptcy was to appoint a bankruptcy trustee to control the course of the bankruptcy through him and simply deceive the large creditors of the plant, including VTB, Unicredit and Promsvyazbank. Shorsher and Kamzin were not confused by the fact that Expert-Systems LLC had claims against Deka JSC for only 1.3 million rubles (for comparison: the amount of debt owed to VTB is 700 million rubles, but neither this bank nor others even thought to file for bankruptcy of JSC Deka).

Thus, in just six months, bankers Shorsher and Kamzin decided the fate of the once largest beverage producer in the Russian Federation with a market share of 35%, which was a socially significant enterprise for the Novgorod region. Employees of the plant, left without wages, later picketed the government building of the Novgorod region, and Governor Andrey Nikitin and his deputies repeatedly raised the the topic of the bankruptcy of Deka in their interviews. At the same time, the cost of bankruptcy rested on a ridiculous 1.3 million rubles. To prevent the plant from being able to restore production, Shorsher and Kamzin decided to increase the amount of claims immediately to 7 billion rubles by the summer of 2019! They were not even confused by the fact that this amounts to almost 80% of the capital of City Invest Bank (about 9 billion rubles), that is, they formally violated the Central Bank's standards for banks per borrower (banks are prescribed a standard per borrower of no more than 25% of the capital). However, Schorscher and Kamzin, who have been in the banking business since 1994, seem either unaware of their existence or defiantly ignore them.

In 2019, the courts of various levels, starting with the Arbitration Court of the North-Western District and ending with the Supreme Court, dismissed these claims of City Invest Bank as absurd and invalid. But the plant was ruined by the actions of Shorsher and Kamzin: as a result of all the violent activity of the bankers of JSC Deka was stopped, the staff of 700 people was dismissed, which became a headache not only for the plant's creditor banks, but also for the regional authorities and tax authorities.

Main Directorate of Economic Security and Combating the Corruption the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Novgorod region filed a criminal case on the fact of premeditated bankruptcy, and position of lenders, including state Bank VTB, tax authorities (the statement of lenders in Main Directorate of Economic Security and Combating the Corruption with a request for initiation of proceedings was joined by Federal tax service on Novgorod region), and personally, the Governor of the region Andrey Nikitin largely contributed to this. With their help, the fraud of Shorsher and Kamzin were revealed. The governor, in particular, pointed out that for the region, the loss of a manufacturer is not just a loss of tax revenues by almost 1 billion rubles, but also serious reputational damage: the company allowed the region to fulfill the president's instructions on the topic of import substitution.

Searches of the IC in the bank in 2015 and fraudulent transactions with the bankrupt Intrustbank did not seem to teach Leonid Shorsher and Sergey Kamzin anything. In 2019, when they operated on Deka, the Expert RA agency withdrew the credit rating of their bank without confirmation, citing the fact that the agency did not have enough information to assess the risks in City Invest Bank. This was due to the opacity of its structure. In fact, the rating agency refused to be responsible for the bank's risks to depositors and creditors, downgrading its rating to the level of withdrawal. The Central Bank's position on this topic is unknown. However, the fact that Schorscher and Kamzin are used to acting without regard to circumstances and common sense is confirmed by the reputation of their bank, which today does not even have a credit rating.

Now Shorsher and Kamzin seem to finally understand what happened. In January, their names suddenly appeared on the list of holders of the "golden passports" of Malta. Whether they issue the same passports for their relatives now is unknown, but it makes sense: According to the interlocutors of The Moscow Post, the investigators have already spoken with their partner in the bank and the head of the board of City Invest Bank, Pavel Dyadichkin. He could not answer the questions of the investigators anything intelligible, as well as Viktor Kuzmin, who was also interviewed by the investigators. The mysterious Mr. Khuravidi, who has not been seen at the enterprise for a year, may still be found by the investigators – so far, his whereabouts "could not be established". City Invest Bank declined to comment on the situation with searches and interrogations of its shareholders.

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