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Bortnikov Alexander Vasilyevich, Russian FSB Director

Chaika Yuri Yakovlevich, General Prosecutor

Fradkov Mikhail Efimovich, Foreign Intelligence Service Director

Fursenko Andrei Alexandrovich, Minister of Education and Science

Ivanov Victor Petrovich, head of Federal Drug Control Service

Ivanov Sergei Borisovich, Deputy Chairman of RF Government

Khristenko Victor Borisovich, Minister of Industry and Trade and Golikova Tatyana, Minister of Health and Social Development

Kudrin Alexei Leonidovich, ex-Minister of Finance

Levitin Igor Yevgenievich, Minister of Transport and Communication

Murov Evgeny Alexeyevich, Federal Protective Service director

Mutko Vitaly Leontievich, Minister of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy

Nabiullina Elvira Sahipzadovna, Minister of Economic Development

Patrushev Nikolai Platonovich, Security Council Secretary

Serdyukov Anatoly Eduardovich, Defense Minister

Shoigu Sergei Kuzhugetovich, Minister of Civil Defense, Emergency Situations and Disaster Relief

Shuvalov Igor Ivanovich, Governments First Deputy Chairman

Skrynnik Elena Borisovna, Minister of Agriculture

Stepashin Sergei Vladimirovich, Accounts Chamber Chairman

Trutnev Yuri Petrovich, Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology

Zhukov Alexander Dmitrievich, Deputy RF Prime Minister

Zubkov Victor Alekseyevich, First Deputy RF Prime Minister





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Russia's Power Families - 2011 / Skrynnik Elena Borisovna, Minister of Agriculture

Employed at: RF Government

 

 

Position held: Minister of Agriculture since 2009

 

Business involvement: Like Minister of Industry and Trade Victor Khristenko, Minister of Agriculture Elena Skrynnik (nee Novitzkaya) also comes from Chelyabinsk Region. In 1994-1997, she was President of Medleasing Interregional Medical Leasing Company, which organized medical equipment imports to Russian hospitals.

Elena Skrynnik chairs the RosLeasing Russian Association of Leasing Companies board. From 2001-2009, she was general director of state-owned RosAgroLeasing OJSC, which uses government funds to buy, rent and lease agricultural equipment. According to Sobesednik newspaper, a 2002 RF Accounts Chamber audit of RosLeasing established that when Elena Skrynnik’s organization started providing its services, the cost of tractors and combines for Russian rural areas rose by 38.9% over the factory sales price, with 23.1% payable to RosAgroLeasing – despite the 18% markup limit on goods purchased with federal leasing funds. Skrynnik’s organization was also criticized following a 2009 Accounts Chamber audit.

 

 

Also in 2009, RosAgroLeasing was investigated by Yuri Chaika’s RF General Prosecutor’s Office, which uncovered that RosAgroLeasing had essentially been extending loans to suppliers by prepaying agricultural equipment but deferring shipments by up to a year. The suppliers then wired that money to their [Russian] bank and offshore accounts. For example, in December 2008, RosAgroLeasing wired over 730 Mln. Rub. for contracted agricultural equipment purchase to Sarex OJSC (Saransk earthmoving equipment plant). As of audit time, the equipment had not yet been delivered. Acceptance certificates evidencing receipt of just 80 Mln. Rub in equipment were signed only in October 2009. Sarex wired funds received from RosAgroLeasing to [its own] deposit accounts as well as to a company linked to wiring funds to offshore accounts.

 

Sarex OJSC is closely connected to Elena Skrynnik. According to Sarex plant’s 2Q 2007 list of affiliates, AgroEuroSoyuz held 50.42% of Sarex shares in April 2007. (By spring 2008, that share grew to 75.1%). AgroEuroSoyuz was founded in 2002 by Zerno (Grain) Trading Company LLC owned by Elena Skrynnik’s Russian Medical Company. On May 25, 2007, the Sarex board of directors changed, now including Skrynnik’s closest associates: Yuri Karpov (AgroEuroSoyuz general director and former RosAgroLeasing legal department staffer); Vladimir Dryazgov (RosAgroLeasing procurement department head); Leonid Zubovsky (MedLeasing  president); Evgeny Makarov (chief medical doctor at Skrynnik’s Swiss Perfection Aesthetic Center and Elevator-service CJSC general director), Alexander Yezhevsky (RosAgroLeasing’s expert council member), and government official Leonid Orsik, who at the time headed the Ministry of Agriculture’s Science and Technology Policy department. After Skrynnik was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Orsik was appointed RosAgroLeasing director.

In 2008, a government contract funded through AgroEuroSoyuz helped Sarex become Russia’s largest tractor manufacturer. In late 2008, AgroEuroSoyuz’s share in Sarex shrank to 7.35% due to new shareholders: two Virgin Islands offshores and a Swiss firm. In December 2010, AgroEuroSoyuz declared bankruptcy.

 

 

The prosecutorial investigation of RosAgroLeasing also found that Elena Skrynnik’s company signed over 70% of its contracts not with actual lessees, but with intermediaries who charged lessees another 2.5% – 4%. The Prosecutor’s Office also uncovered 55 Mln. Rub. in unsubstantiated 2007-2008 RosAgroLeasing management bonuses. RosAgroLeasing deputy general director Oleg Aldoshin alone received eight bonuses totaling 2.2 Mln. Rub. in 2008, and two more bonuses of 88,000 Rub. each between January and March 2009.

 

Deputy general director Leonid Novitzky (Elena Skrynnik’s brother) and Sergei Korolev each received a 1.1 Mln. Rub. bonus for the year. Korolev received another 660,000 Rub. in 1Q 2009. Oleg Aldoshin and Sergei Korolev are currently Deputy Ministers of Agriculture. In explaining the audit results, RosAgroLeasing OJSC stated that “Deputy general directors were rewarded with bonuses for successfully achieving objectives set by the RF Government under its National Agro-Industrial Development project and a[nother] government program. Bonuses were also paid in view of the company’s positive financial and economic results.”

 

 

The Prosecutor’s Office actions may have been due to Elena Skrynnik’s serious conflict with Victor Zubkov, First Deputy RF Prime Minister and RosAgroLeasing chairman of the board. Zubkov had allegedly initiated a Russian media PR-campaign against Skrynnik.

 
First deputy RF General Prosecutor officially reported to Victor Zubkov on the RosAgroLeasing financial violations uncovered. In late November 2009, Zubkov called an extraordinary meeting of the RosAgroLeasing board, demanding that general director Leonid Orsik report on measures taken to rectify the situation. Orsik was to report after the Christmas holiday season, but suddenly died on December 31, 2009 at the age of 48 of acute heart failure.

 

Business influence: According to Spark-Interfax, in 1996-1998 Elena Skrynnik set up three Moscow companies: RusMedInvest-M (dissolved in 2011), MedLeasing CJSC (dissolved in 2008), and Russian Medical Company (dissolved in 2011).


These companies later became beneficiaries of many companies linked to RosAgroLeasing. According to Vedomosti newspaper, in 2000, Russian Medical Company, MedLeasing and their joint venture InvestRegionLeasing used their affiliates ChemGarantKonstruktzia, MontazhStroiKonstruktzia and AkademRealtService to acquire 15% of AcademChemBank JSIB OJSC. The share subsequently changed, always remaining a minority share.


AcademChemBank’s business grew at lightning speed after Skrynnik’s December 2001 appointment as RosAgroLeasing general director. By mid-2004, the Bank’s assets grew 30-fold to 5.853 Bln. Rub. compared to the year 2000, while its capital grew 85-fold to 965.7 Mln. Rub. AcademChemBank’s 2004 Russian ranking was 122nd (instead of its previous 990th ranking) in assets and 130th in capital.

AcademChemBank’s success may have been due to its new client base. In its 2003 quarterly reports cited by Vedomosti, the Bank notes that its services are now being used by RosAgroLeasing, GomSelMash (Gomel agricultural equipment manufacturing plant, a Republican unitary enterprise), Minsk Tractor Plant, SibMashHolding, RostSelMash Trading Company, Ulyanovsk Machine Building Plant, Medleasing and other companies, including RosAgroLeasing suppliers and lease insurers. One large client of the Bank told Vedomosti that RosAgroLeasing insisted that this client open an AcademChemBank account. This was a deposit account used to wire especially large monetary amounts.

In 2003-2004, AcademChemBank’s main owners (the Antonovs – father and son) bought out the Bank shares held by Elena Skrynnik’s companies.

 

 

Other companies linked to Elena Skrynnik also worked closely with the leasing company. Russian Medical Company set up Zerno (Grain) Trading Company LLC. InvestRegionLeasing CJSC (which Skrynnik founded) had a subsidiary – Grandinvest LLC, which co-owned Voronezhskaya Zemlya (Voronezh Land) LLC (Voronezh  Land controls agricultural production and land resources in southern Russia). According to Vedomosti, Zerno Trading Company and Voronezhskaya Zemlya were listed as partners in Skrynnik’s government-owned company: they sold grain that RosAgroLeasing accepted as payment from agricultural producers in lieu of cash.

Zerno Trading Company was dissolved in 2010. According to SPARK-Interfax, as of April 2001, Voronezhskaya Zemlya owner was Andrei Mikhailovich Rubtzov.

According to the Unified State Registry of Companies, Elena Skrynnik founded Swiss Perfection Aesthetic Center LLC in 2001. The Center became a formal branch of the Swiss La Prairie aesthetic surgery clinic. In 2009, Skrynnik’s current husband Dmitry Belonosov was registered as Swiss Perfection owner.

Elena Skrynnik is a family friend of former RF Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov; she is his younger daughter’s godmother.

According to her tax return, Skrynnik’s 2010 income was 7.384 Mln. Rub. She owns a 4,800 m2 land lot; two residential homes: 2,142 m2 and 231.9 m2; a 115.4 m2 apartment; and a Mercedes-Benz
500 LM automobile. In 2009, Skrynnik declared income of 10.835 Mln. Rub. and another car – a BMW-760. Her official 2008 income was 10.735 Mln. Rub.

 

 

 

Family

First husband Sergei Vasilievich Skrynnik was a government official. Elena Novitzkaya married him while still a student [and took his last name]. Sergei Skrynnik subsequently headed the Chelyabinsk Region Main Administration of Material Resources government procurement department.

In January 2010, the RF prosecutor’s office investigative department’s Chelyabinsk investigative administration stated that a criminal case was initiated against the Minister of Agriculture’s ex-husband and “other unidentified officials” on suspicion of “receiving bribes in a large amount” (RF Criminal Code Art. 290 part 4, paras. “” and “d”).

According to the case file, in September 2009, Sergei Skrynnik received approximately 300,000 Rub. from Dizet Factory LLC in exchange for a promise to accept a bid past the bidding deadline, and to eliminate competitors during the bidding process. Also, in December [2009], Elena Selischeva (Medservice-Region CJSC general director) gave Skrynnik 1.3 Mln. Rub. in order to secure a winning medical equipment supply bid. Money passing hands was videotaped by a hidden camera mounted in the ceiling above Skrynnik’s desk. Skrynnik was detained, then released on a 1 Mln. Rub. bond.

 

 

In November 2010, an “express trial” started by mutual agreement between the prosecutor and Skrynnik. By admitting bribery and returning part of the money, Skrynnik counted on staying out of jail. However, the government prosecutor asked the court to sentence the defendant to seven years in a high-security prison and to impose a 1 Mln. Rub. penalty. In response, Sergei Skrynnik recanted his testimony and insisted the case be tried in a normal, (non-“express”) fashion. In February 2011, the trial adjourned due to Skrynnik’s previously-planned surgery hospitalization.

The trial resumed on March 1, [2011]; there is no verdict yet.

Yuri Nikolayevich Kukota, entrepreneur, was Elena Skrynnik’s second husband from 2004 to 2007. He later accused Elena Skrynnik of threatening him with murder (RF CC Art. 119). According to Kukota’s police statement published in the media, Elena Skrynnik was hostile and refused to let him see his children. In order to settle the issue, the formerly married couple agreed to meet near Ukraine hotel on Kutuzov Avenue on May 23, 2007. Kukota said that during that meeting, Skrynnik threatened that if Kukota continues to make demands he will be killed. Kukota took the threat seriously, believing his ex-wife had sufficient connections to organize a murder. According to Kukota, Elena Skrynnik’s people had already been surveilling and wiretapping him at the time.


While admitting there was a meeting, Agriculture Minister Elena Skrynnik disagreed with what was said, stating that Kukota asked her to forgive him and to resume the marriage; that she promised to think it over but didn’t threaten anyone. No criminal case was initiated.

According to the Unified State Registry of Companies, Yuri Kukota owns the Velikoknyazhesky (Grand Duke) Stud Farm LLC and Service-Elevator MB LLC. Previously, Service-Elevator was a member of the Russian Association of Leasing Companies (RosLeasing), now headed by Elena Skrynnik.

In 2006, Yuri Kukota planned to use his own funds to build a sanctuary in his native Novy Egorlyk village (Salsky District, Rostov Region). Construction was started but stopped, and in 2008, Egorlyk Stanitza’s St. Nicholas Parish senior priest started raising funds in order to finish construction. The sanctuary has still not been finished today. 

 

 

 

Third husband Dmitry Valerievich Belonosov is a pop star. Prior to meeting Elena Skrynnik, he was a well-known Revolvers boy band soloist. The Minister of Agriculture put some of her property in her new husband’s name: RusMedInvest-M LLC, Russian Medical Company LLC (both dissolved in early 2011), and Swiss Perfection Aesthetic Center LLC. According to SPARK-Interfax, as of July 1, 2009, RusMedInvest-M held a 90% share of MedLeasing Medical Leasing Company OJSC. In 2008, Dmitry Belonosov’s income was over 22 Mln. Rub., yet he owned no real estate or automobiles. In 2009, he declared a mere 3.697 Mln. Rub. in income, as well as Hyundai Accent and BMW-X5 automobiles. In 2010, the entrepreneur Belonosov had almost no income, reporting a mere 103,400 Rub.

 

 

Mother Tamara Dmitrievna Novitzkaya is an executive, previously head engineer at a factory, and later employed at RosAgroLeasing. She also worked at companies linked to Elena Skrynnik – in particular, Russian Medical Company, RusMedInvest-M, Zemlya, MedLeasing-Elista (incorporated in [the Russian Elista] Chess City[1] offshore zone), the Swiss Perfection Aesthetic Center, and InvestRegionLeasing CJSC.

 

Brother Leonid Borisovich Novitzky is an entrepreneur and Russian racer who won the 2010 FIA Rally Raid World Cup[2].

Novitzky worked for his sister Skrynnik at RosAgroLeasing and organized the Yarovit-RosAgroLeasing corporate [racing] team at the international Paris-Dakar rally. Novitzky’s name was on the list compiled during the prosecutorial investigation of inflated bonuses paid to Elena Skrynnik’s company executives. In January 2010, when the company was defending itself following the prosecutorial investigation outcome, Novitzky left his RosAgroLeasing first deputy general director position and left for Latin America to race.

 

 

According to SPARK-Interfax, Novitzky owns AgroZapchast (Agro-Spare Parts) LLC and Biotech (at one time, Voronezhskaya Zemlya LLC was a Biotech subsidiary). Novitzky is also listed as owner of Aventes LLC, which owns the Vodka Bar restaurant in Moscow.

 

Closest friends:

 

Elena Skrynnik’s deputies at the Agriculture Ministry (Oleg Aldoshin and Sergei Korolev) were also her deputies at RosAgroLeasing; Deputy Minister Alexander Belyaev used to head VolgogradAgroLeasing. Several top RosAgroLeasing managers moved to the Ministry of Agriculture. RosAgroLeasing deputy department head Vyacheslav Nungezer now heads the Agriculture Ministry’s Science and Technology Policy department, while the Ministry’s human resources department is now headed by former leasing company HR department head Olga Dulepova-Meneilyuk. Oleg Donskikh, former LipetzkAgroSnab leasing company co-owner and head of RosAgroLeasing’s regional division, was entrusted the Ministry of Agriculture’s administrative department in August 2009.

 

 

According to the  media, Elena Skrynnik’s business partner Alexander Antonov (founder of Converse Group with total estimated assets of over $3 Bln.) had underworld ties, while his AcademChemBank (mentioned above in connection with RosAgroLeasing) was accused of money laundering. Lawsuits were filed in order to refute the allegations; RF Central Bank did not officially confirm AcademChemBank money laundering.

In a 2009 attempt on his life, banker Alexander Antonov was seriously injured but survived. Investigators later determined that Timur Isayev fired at Antonov from a car driven by Aslanbek Dadayev (the Chechen who, together with another hitman, killed State Duma member Ruslan Yamadaev in fall 2008. Yamadayev’s longtime enemies were Chechen Republic President Ramzan Kadyrov and Kadyrov’s close confidant, State Duma member Adam Delimkhanov).

In his testimony [following the attempt on his life], the Antonov said [that prior to the attempt] he was threatened by individuals close to the Chechen government. According to Moskovsky Komsomoletz (MK) newspaper, shortly before the attempted murder, Antonov met with a group of Chechen entrepreneurs, with State Duma member Delimkhanov allegedly also at the meeting. According to MK sources, the conversation involved disagreement over some deals and amounts Antonov owed. A $50 Mln. sum was named. The Chechen interlocutors warned Antonov that if continues to fail to pay, the sum will double. Soon after that meeting (as noted in Dadayev’s verdict), someone named “Adam,” mincing no words, said Alexander Antonov now had to pay $106 Mln. instead of $50 Mln.

 

 

 

Other sources said the conflict was over repaying large Russian Railroads sums held at Converse Bank-Moscow JSCB OJSC (Converse was the post-June 2005 name of AcademChemBank JSIB OJSC). According to this theory, after RF Central Bank deputy chairman Andrei Kozlov categorically refused to insure Converse Bank under the [federal] deposit insurance system, Converse Bank owners sold their controlling share to Petr Chuvilin and German Gorbuntzov. At the time of sale, Converse Bank-Moscow held Russian Railroads OJSC funds. The deposit was rolled over several times, and now totaled around $1 Bln. In 2008, Russian Railroads tried to get back its $1 Bln. (by then the Bank had been renamed again and was now called Stolichny Torgovy Bank (Capital Trade Bank)). Russian Railroads encountered difficulties in obtaining its money. The bank admitted its debt obligation in writing, but said that former Bank owner Antonov was also liable. Antonov refused to pay, after which Chuvilin and Gorbuntzov allegedly asked Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov for help.

In his written statement to the head of Russian FSB, Alexander Antonov says that during a heated conflict and various discussions accompanying it, Antonov’s former partner Chuvilin asked to meet Antonov at Zolotoi restaurant on Kutozov Avenue. Chuvilin came to the meeting with State Duma member Adam Delimkhanov, whom he used as debt collector. Antonov said that the Chechens threatened him during negotiations.

 

Vladimir Alexanrovich Antonov (Converse owner Alexander Antonov’s son and business partner) was named in the above-noted corporate proceedings. Vladimir Antonov previously worked under Elena Skrynnik at RosAgroLeasing, and later became the largest investor in the Dutch Spyker

[3] luxury car manufacturer. When Spyker wanted to buy the Swedish Saab group from US-based General Motors, the deal was on hold for as long as Antonov was the buyer. Antonov then sold his [Spyker] share, and Spyker bought Saab in January 2010.

 

 

In February 2011, Vladimir Antonov bought Spyker Cars sports car manufacturer for €32 Mln. In April 2011, Antonov Jr. had talks the Dutch Spyker Cars NV that now owned Saab regarding buying the company’s real estate.

 

 

 



[1] Translator note: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_City

[2] Translator note: http://www.rallyraid.net/category/fia-world-cup

[3] Translator note: http://www.spykercars.nl/?pag=1