Skrynnik Elena Borisovna, Minister of Agriculture
«Russia's Power Families - 2011» / Skrynnik Elena Borisovna, Minister of Agriculture
Employed at: RF Government
Position held: Minister of Agriculture since 2009
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
 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.
 Translator note: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_City
 Translator note: http://www.rallyraid.net/category/fia-world-cup
 Translator note: http://www.spykercars.nl/?pag=1